Cathy Hsu, a senior at Monterey High, is the third prize winner of a national essay contest sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Washington, D.C.-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
The topic for the 2014 Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest asked students to discuss whether or not religious messages, such as Bible verses on “run-through” banners at football games, should be permitted at public school-sponsored events.
More than 630 students from 48 states and the District of Columbia entered the contest, as well as students from China and Albania.
Hsu received a $250 scholarship for her essay, “Christianity in Cheerleading: The Role of the First Amendment in Public Schools.”
She wrote that “... to exploit the cheerleading squad, a school-sponsored activity, as an outlet in promoting Christian messages would position the school into appearing to endorse religion, an obvious transgression of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”
Hsu plans to study political science in college. She is the daughter of Tienhui and Huichu Hsu.
The grand prize winner is Daniel Ingham of Ellicott City, Maryland, who received a $2,000 scholarship. Sienna Li of Portland, Oregon, won a $1,000 scholarship for her second prize essay.
The Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest was established in 2006 to engage high school juniors and seniors in church-state issues. A panel of judges issued scores based on the content of each essay and the author’s writing skills. For more information, click here.