Northeast Florida high school essay contest now open to commemorate Boston Tea Party

The lawyers and judges of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, and the members of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association are pleased to announce the 2023 high school essay contest.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party northeast Florida high school students are invited to partake in the 2023 high school essay contest.


Students in grades 9 through 12 attending public, private, parochial or charter schools and home-school or virtual students of equivalent grade status are more than welcome to participate.

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Students are invited to submit essays in response to the following:

Two-hundred and fifty years ago, American colonists, upset that Britain was imposing “taxation without representation,” engaged in an act of defiance by dumping 342 chests of tea into the water. The event, which was a major catalyst for the American Revolution, was later dubbed “the Boston Tea Party.” The concept of “no taxation without representation” eventually led to the democratic form of government that is embodied in the United States Constitution.

While the literal concept of “taxation” may not directly apply to you, the concept of “being governed without a say” may resonate. Provide and explain a personal example in which the concept of “governance without a say” has some applicability to your life, either at home, at school, or in your community. Point to language in the Constitution, including its amendments, that best represents how our system of government is structured to fulfill the “promise” of “no taxation without representation”—or “no governance without a say”—and analyze that language in the context of the personal example you identify.

—  2023 high school essay contest

According to information submitted by the Jacksonville Chapter, Federal Bar Association, the contest is now in its 6th year. The essay contest is an important part of court’s community outreach to the high schools in the 12 northeastern counties in the Jacksonville Divison. These counties include; Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwanee and Union.

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To participate, a student must submit a qualifying essay in accordance with the contest rules via the Middle District website which can be found by clicking here. Submissions must be made no later than Noon EST on Sep. 29, 2023.

Cash prizes are made possible by the lawyers and judges of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, through the Bench Bar Fund.

  • First Place: $2,000.00
  • Second Place: $1,000.00
  • Third Place: $500.00
  • Fourth - Tenth Places, each: $150.00
  • Classroom Grant for teachers of top three winners (one per teacher): $500.00
  • Grant to school with the most qualifying submissions: $1,000.00

The contest is supported by the District Judges of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida and Jacksonville Division.

“The High School Essay Contest has been an important part of the Court’s community outreach, because our democracy demands knowledgeable and informed citizens,” United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard said.

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Not only will the top 10 students receive cash prizes but the students and their family members and teachers, and a representative of the school with the most submissions will all be recognized at a ceremony at the Bryan Simson United States Courthouse in Jacksonville on Dec. 6.

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For the contest rules and additional information about the Essay Contest, including how to submit an essay, visit under the “Court in the Community” section.

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