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HGP’s Annual Scholarship Contest

Humanists of Greater Portland (HGP) is pleased to sponsor an annual essay contest to encourage Portland-area college-bound high school seniors in their education and in learning more about humanism. Thanks to the foresight and planning of Del Allen, a long-time HGP member, a scholarship fund was begun in 2011, and awards have been given out annually since 2012. HGP members continue to make donations to fund this important community outreach.

The essay contest promotes the logical thinking and communication skills valued by humanists. We’re heartened to see that the number of applicants has increased steadily, even doubling between 2016 and 2017. We believe this demonstrates that more young people all the time are accepting humanism as their worldview.

A committee of HGP volunteers administers the scholarship contest. A new essay topic is announced each year. For example, the 2017 topic was, “Many young people today are replying ‘none’ when asked their religious preference. How does one develop a moral compass without religion or dogma?”

Each year in January, the committee sends application forms and guidelines to metropolitan area public schools. Interested students can pick up these materials at their schools or download them from HGP’s website.

The deadline for submissions is the end of April. In addition to an essay of 750-1,000 words, students must submit photo IDs, short bios, parental permission and school transcripts showing a GPA of at least 3.0. Winners need to submit proof of college enrollment prior to receiving their scholarship funds.

The number of winners and award amounts varies from year to year, depending on funds available and the quality of the essays. For example, 2017’s first-place winner, Fumika Mizuno, received $3,000; second-place winner Christopher Sessions received $2,000; and $1,000 went to each of three runners-up, Rosy Quinn, Molly Zwartjes and Kate Fin.

Congratulations to all of these fine students and all the best to them in their future endeavors!

This year's application is here.


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