Essay Contest


The Vancouver Foundation of Art, Justice and Liberty sponsors a yearly essay competition for students in grades 10 through 12. The purpose of the competition is to heighten awareness and stimulate discussion of values and concepts in the areas of art, justice, and liberty. It is hoped that the competition will complement subjects included in the school curriculum, especially in courses within the departments of English, Social Studies, History, Law, Fine Arts, Religion and Humanities.

The board of the Foundation includes educators and professionals from various backgrounds who believe in the value of competitions in aiding the development of research and analytical skills in students.

VFAJL is a non-profit Society incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia. The purposes of the Foundation include the promotion of educational activities designed to develop an understanding of the material and spiritual values found in the heritage of art, justice and liberty, especially as they have developed from classical origins.

Notice to Teachers

We encourage you to promote the competition and post the attached announcement at your school. In past years, some teachers have made the essay competition an assignment for their students. When students have completed an entry we suggest that a coordinating teacher assemble the entries and forward them to the Foundation office.

The Competition

The essay competition is directed at high school students in grades 10 through 12, and is open to schools throughout the Lower Mainland. Students wishing to enter must select one of the topics below and present a typewritten essay of 1,000 to 1,500 words. The selection process will take into consideration the style, approach, originality, analysis, and understanding demonstrated in the essay. The panel of markers will include educators and professionals.


All essays must respond to the following single topic in the context of the issue of justice:

When considering new laws in Canada, should individual rights be more important than the common good of society? Support your position using current issues such as privacy laws, assisted suicide, or the legalization of marijuana.


First Prize: $500.00
Second Prize: $350.00
Third Prize: $250.00

Deadline and Submissions

Submissions must be received by April 1st by email: (see format for submissions below).

Vancouver Foundation of Art, Justice and Liberty
660 – 1188 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C.
V6E 4A2

Winning entries will be selected by June 1st and the winners notified. Competition judges may at their discretion award fewer than three prizes. An award ceremony will take place at a time and location to be announced.

Format for Submissions

All entries in this competition must comply with the requirements listed below. The Foundation reserves the right to refuse evaluation of non-conforming essays.

  • Essays must be typed on 8.5” x 11” paper
  • Essays should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words in length
  • The essay topic must appear at the top of the first page of the essay, followed by a title chosen by the entrant
  • Bibliographies of consulted works must accompany essays that have involved research
  • Each essay must be accompanied by a separate cover sheet bearing the following information:
  1. Student name and grade and school name
  2. Coordinating teacher’s name (if applicable)
  • Signed release (see below)
  • Student and school names, logos or other identifying marks must not appear on any page of the essay itself (Foundation volunteers will code individual cover sheets and essays before separating them to ensure the anonymity of the entrants and the impartiality of the competition judges.)
  • Submissions must be in .PDF format only. The cover sheet including the signed release must be scanned and attached as a separate file.


All essays entered in the competition become the property of the Vancouver Foundation of Art, Justice and Liberty and will not be returned to the entrants. The following release must be reproduced on the cover sheet of the essay, complete with signatures and date:

“I, _____________________________[INSERT NAME OF STUDENT], agree that as a condition and in consideration of the opportunity to enter the Essay Competition of the Vancouver Foundation of Art, Justice and Liberty (the “Foundation”) I will accept as final the decision of the panel of markers reviewing the essays for the Foundation and hereby waive and release all rights to the essay I have submitted for the Essay Competition. I hereby grant the Foundation the right to reproduce and/or publish the essay submitted, if it wishes, in whole or in part, naming me as the author. I also agree that the Foundation may list and/or publish my name and school should I win one of the Essay Competition prizes.”

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