Nicholas Bullis of Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, MD took the top prize of $2,500 in the 2012 – 2013 First Freedom Student Competition. The junior student competed against more than 1,800 ninth through 12th grade students from public, private, parochial schools and home-schooling regions nationwide, including American students from as far away as Kenya and Nepal. Three rounds of judging with more than 80 judges from across the country identified the winning entries.
The competition offers students a chance to examine the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom and present a report through an essay or video. This year’s topic was George Washington’s letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, RI, where he addressed a new standard for religious freedom and religious equality for citizens of the young nation. The competition is hosted by the First Freedom Center, a non-partisan, non-denominational, non-profit organization that advances the fundamental human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience through education, monitoring, and advocacy programs.