Students in the five high schools in Elizabethton and Carter County can compete for a $1,000 scholarship through an essay contest being sponsored by WBEJ Radio in Elizabethton.
Station Manager Cleo Reed said the idea for the establishment of the WBEJ Freedom Scholarship came from Don Crisp, the station’s owner and president.
The “freedom” concept for the essay competition arose from the station’s recent decision to broadcast the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.
“We’re broadcasting a recitation of the pledge by actor John Lane five or six times throughout the day until Election Day,” Reed said.
She said the topic of freedom seemed appropriate for the times and also serves as a way to get young people to think about patriotism and the cost of freedom.
“Freedom’s a very important concept,” Reed said. “Hopefully, students will think so, too.”
Graduating seniors are encouraged to write an essay, in 300 words or less, on the subject of “What Freedom Means to Me.”
Reed said the scholarship will be presented on an annual basis, but the essay theme will probably change each year.
The radio station has notified all five local high schools of the competition to encourage students to write essays in the hope of winning the $1,000 scholarship.
WBEJ Program Director David Miller will serve as a judge for the contest, perhaps assisted by judges gleaned from the community.
“David has worked with the Voice of Democracy, so he’s acquainted with this,” Reed said.
The annual Voice of Democracy speech competition is sponsored annually by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Reed said the winner of the essay competition and the scholarship will be announced next spring by graduation. A sampling of the eligible essays may also be read on the air.
Entries may be submitted to WBEJ at the radio station’s office at 510 Broad St., Elizabethton. Essays can be submitted by email by visiting the station’s website at www.wbej.com or mailed to: “Freedom Award,” c/o WBEJ, 510 Broad St., Elizabethton, TN 37643.
WBEJ Radio broadcasts at both AM 1240 and FM 107.9.