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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 support this important community outreach.

The essay contest promotes the logical thinking and communication skills valued by humanists. We're heartened to see the number of applicants increase over the years. 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. New topics are announced each year for an essay of 750-1,000 words on one topic chosen out of three. For 2021, they could write about ways to diminish racism, balance freedom and the common good in a pandemic, or handle misinformation in social media.

Every January, the committee sends application forms and information to Portland Metropolitan Area public schools. Interested students can pick up these materials from their counselors or download them from HGP’s website.

Each year's submission deadline falls in mid-April. In addition to the essay, students must provide 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. They read their essays aloud at our Sunday morning meetings, and videos of these readings are available through this website.

The number of winners and award amounts vary from year to year, depending on the funds available and the quality of the essays. For example, 2021 had two students tied for first-place awards of $3,000: Lily Belisle, from Portland's Cleveland High, and Annalise Newberry, from Prairie High in Vancouver. Kirsten Bauck, Westview High in Beaverton, took second place for $2,000. Click on their names to read their essays.

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

After 10 years of targeting traditional four-year college students, HGP is adding a new Career Technical Education scholarship. Starting in 2021, we'll offer up to five one-time $1,000 scholarships to high school graduates of any age enrolled in a two-year associate degree or one-year certificate program at accredited Portland area community colleges. Click here for more information on this CTE program and an application form.

Starting next January, the application form for the 2022 traditional scholarship will be available for downloading here.

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