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2022-2023 Contest will open in the Fall of 2022

  “How do you show the values of honor, courage and commitment in your life?”

In collaboration with the Character Education Resource Center at the University of San Diego, the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation (FLHF)  is pleased and proud to announce its annual essay contest for all public, private, and home school students in grades 6 through 8 and grades 9 through 12 in San Diego and Imperial Counties.


The purpose of this essay contest is to encourage students to develop and improve their thinking and writing skills as they address core values of the US Marine Corps and our society:  “Honor, Courage and Commitment.”  Since Marines model these three virtues and other character strengths such as hard work, perseverance, honesty, fairness, accountability and gratitude, the question for this year’s essay contest is:


“How do you show the values of honor, courage and commitment in your life?”


Tips for Teachers (and Students)

We suggest you guide your students in finding their voice and the purpose of the essay; along with writing an effective introduction, supporting paragraphs and conclusion.

Students may choose to write about one, two or all three of the values.


Education Standards

This contest is offered to students and educators who wish to meet the California Department of Education mandate 235.5 (a) for character and civic education in grades 6-12 as well as Common Core Standards.

Essay Judging Criteria

There are two committees that assess essays.

A committee of veterans and military spouses representing the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation does the initial assessment of the essays. A committee of educators representing the Character Education Resource Center ranks the finalists.

Points awarded will be based on:

  • 50% — Knowledge of the theme: The student showed a thorough knowledge of the theme in the essay.
  • 25% — Creativity and Originality of the essay: The student related the theme to her/his own experiences.
  • 25% — Clarity of writing: The student’s essay was written in an easy-to-understand format leaving the reader/judge with a clear understanding of her/his explanation of the theme.

Who May Enter This Contest?

All students who are attending a public, private, charter, faith-based or home school in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Category 1: For students who are in grades 6-8.

Category 2: For students who are in grades 9 through 12.

Important Essay Contest Dates

The essay contest is now taking submissions.

All entries must be received by April 20, 2022 

How To Enter & Submit

Once students have completed the final copy of their essays, they should give them to their teacher. Teachers, not students, send essays to the Foundation.

All essays must be the sole, original work of the student.

  • Students in grades 6 through 8 should submit an essay of not more than 600 words.
  • Students in grade 9 through 12 should submit an essay of not more than 1000 words.
  • The title of the essay and added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

The teacher’s role is to select essays for consideration and to submit them online.  We recommend that teachers submit a maximum of 4 essays for each class that they teach.

The text of the essay should be in English, in Microsoft Word or PDF format, and submitted electronically by teachers.

Student Awards

FIRST PLACE recipient will receive:           $300

SECOND PLACE recipient will receive:      $200

THIRD PLACE recipient will receive:          $100

Teacher Awards

Each of the six teachers of winning students will receive a $200 check.

Founder’s Award

In addition to above awards, a Founder’s  Award may be given. There is no requirement to present this award on an annual basis. Rather, the award is to be given on the basis of merit only and recognizes the essay that is the favorite of founder, Major Glenn Ferguson (USMC, retired). The recipient of the Founder’s Award will be given a gift and/or stipend at the discretion of the essay contest committee and will be recognized at the student ceremony.

Additional Information:

This contest is a joint collaboration between the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation and the University of San Diego Character Education Resource Center.

All essays become the property of The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation (“Foundation”) with exclusive rights to use winning essays and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s educational programs and activities.  Each WINNING essay will be considered for publication in the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation’s Log Book and for posting on the Foundation’s website.

Winning students and their parents/guardians may be asked to sign a photo permission form so that selected photos may appear on the Foundation web site and in other publications.

The Foundation, the Museum and the Character Education Resource Center are not responsible for lost submissions.

The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation gratefully acknowledges the financial support of San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and the late Major Glenn Ferguson (USMC-retired) that helped make this contest possible.


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Phone: 858-693-1723
9400 Activity Road
Suite C
San Diego, CA 92126
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 45316
San Diego, CA 92145-0316



9400 Activity Road, Suite C,
San Diego, CA 92126
P.O. Box 45316
San Diego, CA 92145-0316