Essay Contest

Essay Contest – Action Steps


The Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is open to all Catholic students — in public, private or parochial schools — in grades 8,9,10,11 and 12 during the current school year.


July/August: Councils, assemblies and circles order Knights of Columbus Essay Contest Kits from the Supreme Council Office. (Print Version – Online Version)

August/September: Councils, assemblies and circles contact schools to secure cooperation. At this time the date, place and means of recognizing winners should be determined.

September/October: Students write essays. Essays should be submitted to judges by October 15.

October/November: Judges review essays for council level.

The Essay Contest council participation form (#4216) for the council level  should be filled out and sent to the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal Services by January 30.

December/January: District Judging if necessary

District Winners should be sent to Larry Herold by March 1

February/March: State judging. Essays due to the Supreme Council for international judging by April 15.  Jurisdiction winners should be recognized at the state convention or another jurisdiction event.

May/June: International Essay Contest winners announced by the Supreme Council Office.

Theme and Topic

The theme of the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is: “The Importance of Religious Freedom.”


Essays must reflect the assigned theme and topic, and be submitted by the published deadline.

Essays must be the student’s original work.

Essays must be typed on 8 1/2” X 11” paper, one sided, double spaced, with one-inch margins.

Essays must be between 500 and 750 words long.

The student’s name should appear only on the official Knights of Columbus Essay Contest entry form which should be stapled to the essay.

All entries become the property of the Knights of Columbus and will not be returned.


Judges will be selected by the sponsoring Knights of Columbus council, assembly or circle. Council, assembly members, clergy, civic officials and/or members of the community may serve as judges.

Essays will be judged on a 100-point scoring system:
20 points: Overall impression — How well does the essay describe the role of a Catholic citizen in a free society?
30 points: Content — How clearly is the theme presented?
20 points: Grammar — How well is the essay written with respect to sentence structure, paragraph construction and spelling?

30 points: Style — Does the essay show creativity, imagination and development of the topic in a compelling style?

Sponsoring Organization

The Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The official responsible for the contest is the grand knight of the sponsoring council, or faithful navigator of the sponsoring assembly.


Certificates for first, second and third place winners, and certificates of participation for all entrants, are included in the essay contest kit.

Additional certificates are available from the Supreme Council office free of charge. It is recommended that councils consider monetary awards in the range of $100 to $250 in the form of savings bonds or cash to first place winners. It is also recommended that a special certificate or plaque be given to the school of the champion of each division. The school could then place the award in its trophy case or otherwise display it in the school.