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The McConnell Connection


Exciting Opportunities for
Kentucky High School Students

Essay Guidelines

Due April 15. Essays should not exceed 1,000 words and should focus on the roots and potential reforms of America's government institutions. 

 More Details 

Center offers $900 & books for annual essay contest

The McConnell Center at the University of Louisville wants Kentucky high school students to remember where their country comes from. The center is sponsoring an essay contest aimed at getting students in grades 9-12 to "think critically about the United States and its political and constitutional inheritance," said Gary Gregg, director of the McConnell Center.

Prompt: "Roots and Reform"

Students should develop a 1,000-word essay focusing on the roots and potential reforms of America's government institutions.
Possible areas of focus include:

  • A profile of a political founder or reformer, such as George Washington or Chief Justice Earl Warren
  • An examination of the roots of an institution or procedure and possible ideas to reform them, such as term limits for members of Congress, a Senate filibuster or executive orders made by the President
  • An exploration of how America was influenced by one of five “root” cities (Jerusalem, Rome, Athens, London, Philadelphia) and how such influences might still be seen in American government today


  • 1st place: $400
  • 2nd place: $300
  • 3rd place: $200
  • All contest winners will be guaranteed a spot in the 2013 Young Leaders Academy conference, “Roots of U.S.: A Tale of Five Cities.”
  • Top 15 finalists will receive a copy of America’s Founding Fathers.

Friday, April 15, 11:59 p.m.


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McConnell Center
(502) 852-8811

McConnell Center is a non-partisan, non-profit "Center of Excellence" at the University of Louisville.