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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Heights Junior Writes Award-Winning Essay on Free Speech

May 14, 2019 -- Heights High junior Emma Hubbard exercised her right to freedom of speech and expression when she entered an essay into the Hope and Stanley Adelstein Essay Contest run annually by the City Club of Cleveland. Emma was inspired by this year’s writing prompt: 

Throughout 2018, there have been many conflicts surrounding free speech. From college campuses to the White House and with an increasingly polarized environment, both on and offline, people disagree about how free speech should be utilized and protected in their daily lives. These disagreements about free speech seem to have widened the rift between the left and right and to have made compromise on important issues difficult to reach. In such trying times, we often question whose voice has a right to be heard. What are the biggest threats to freedom of speech? What should be done to protect this core value of American Democracy?

Emma’s essay was titled “Polarized Views Pose the Greatest Threat to America’s Greatest Value” and earned a fourth place Honorable Mention, out of over 80 entrants. Of the seven students who placed in the 11th and 12th grade category, only one other attends public school, the seventh place Honorable Mention winner from Hudson.

“The prompt of free speech was really interesting to me and something I care about a lot,” Emma said. “So it seemed fun to get to research deeper and get my thoughts in order.” In addition to getting her thoughts in order, Emma won a monetary prize which she plans to add to her babysitting money in the hopes of buying a car.  

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