Essay Contest

A program of the Elks' Grand Lodge Fraternal Committee, this contest is geared towards students in 5th through 8th grades to promote patriotism among young people.

Essay Theme: "What Does Freedom of Speech Mean to Me?"


1. Eligible participants must be Students enrolled in the 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grade at the time of the contest.

2. Essay length is not to exceed 300 words.

3. Essay must be typed or legibly printed in ink. Also, Essay must be submitted as written (or typed) by the entrant.

4. Essay must be submitted for judging to the Elks Lodge nearest to the address of the entrant.

5. Participant must be identified by name, grade, school attending and sponsoring Elks Lodge on the Essay.


Plaques awarded by the Grand Lodge for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place for national winning essays in Division I and Division II. Plaques will be sent to the respective State Associations for presentation to the winning Local Lodges.

Deadline is December 15th of each year.

"What Does Freedom of Speech Mean to Me?"

I am pleased to announce that Members of the Grand Lodge Fraternal Committee have selected the theme, "What Does Freedom of Speech Mean to Me?" for the 2019-2020 Grand Lodge Americanism Essay Contest. The contest starts with the Local Lodges, progresses through District and State levels, and ends with the naming of our National Winners at the Grand Lodge Session in Baltimore, Maryland in July of next year. This very important Patriotic Contest gives school children in grades 5-8 the opportunity to express views on their pride in America.

Nationally, first-place winners in each division will receive a bronze plaque. Many Lodges, Districts and State Associations also may offer different types of awards to their winners.

This contest is most important because it involves school children in your area, showing them Americanism at its best. The contest also demonstrates that Members of your Lodge are proud to be Americans, proud to be Elks and proud to participate in the Americanism programs of Grand Lodge. Your Grand Lodge Fraternal Committee is committed to serving and assisting you as we all show pride in America.

Essay should be submitted to local Elks Lodge on/before December 15th of this year. The Essay Contest Cover Sheet must be completed for each level of competition and remain attached to the Essay.

ESSAY THEME: Will be available in August


Originality: Avoid the use of trite or worn out words and phrases — 30 points

Development of theme: Stay focused on ideas and thoughts. Don’t ramble — 40 points

Mechanics and neatness: Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation — 30 points

There are two divisions for judging essays:

Division 1 (combined fifth and sixth grades)

Division 2 (combined seventh and eighth grades)