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Ayn Rand Essay Contests

posted Nov 25, 2015, 9:44 AM by School Publications   [ updated Dec 4, 2015, 6:05 AM ]

   Ayn Rand's books are inspiring and intellectually challenging.  They can also be financially rewarding for jr. high and high school students.  The Ayn Rand Institute sponsors annual essay contests that depend on a student's grade level.  The contests revolve around her works
Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged.  Mr. Travis Redden's freshman English class entered their own essays into the Anthem contest recently.  Each year there are over 200 national essay winners that focus on this novella and prizes range from $2,000 to $30.  The freshman class entered over twenty essays this year.  

  Mr. Redden believes that essay competitions are a great way to launch writing assignments for high school students. It allows them to write for a larger audience, and the competitive edge motivates students to write for the “real world”.  Redden emphasizes how writing matters in all situations and encourages his students to enter writing contests at all levels of his classes.  "The incentives of money and scholarships are great, but the process of writing essays and improving our craft as writers is the main objective."  

  In the story Anthem the main character, Equality 7-2521, discovers the joy of individuality and freedom.  While people in our society tend to display our differences proudly, for Equality the very thought of being different in any way goes against the foundation of his entire society, where "... all men must be alike."  The character comes to understand through the novella that he has his own identity.  Gradually, he moves away as thinking of himself as a member of "the great WE", to thinking of himself as "I" and valuing his own uniqueness.  Students enjoyed the reading of the dystopian novella, discussing Ayn Rand’s large ideas and philosophy, and writing for this annual essay competition.

                                                    by Addison Cage