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Help Me Raise up to $5,000 for the Student of Your Choice

Proceeds from the sale of these high-quality Abraham Lincoln t-shirts will be given to a student who wins our Before They Were Famous essay contest. Buy a shirt and vote for the winner today.

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What we are doing.

Glenn Beck is teaming up with Mercury One, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to seek out exceptional students from across America and support their education goals.

To accomplish this, we’re carrying out an essay writing contest among high school students and awarding scholarships to the winners.

Scholarship funds will be raised through the sale of themed t-shirts.

Get involved.

Here’s how you can help these exceptional students succeed:

  1. Buy t-shirts! For every t-shirt sold, 30% of the revenue will be donated to Mercury One’s “education fund” to support the students.

  2. Vote for your favorite essay each month.

Guidelines for Participants
  • What is it all about?
    • The “Before They Were Famous” Essay Writing Contest is designed to encourage high school students to become creative thinkers and writers, expand their knowledge about historical figures who helped shape America (before they became famous) and discover parallels from history that can be applied today. Contestants compete for an opportunity to have their essay published on and receive up to $5,000 in scholarship funds to support their educational goals.
  • Who can participate?
    • The contest is open to high school students in public, private, charter schools and home school groups. History teachers with students in grades 9 through 12 are encouraged to nominate their classes to participate. Only approved classes will be allowed to compete.
  • How do I nominate a class?
    • Send us an email at with “NOMINATION” in the subject line and a detailed explanation about why you would like your class to be considered. If your class is approved, we will reply with instructions on how to submit your students’ essay entries.
  • How is a winner selected?
    • Teachers of participating classes will submit one essay from each of their students. A minimum of 5 and a maximum of 24 essays per class are to be submitted for judging. Articles are judged on the following criteria based on a point scale system (1-5 points per criterion, maxing out at 30 points): historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, creativity, originality.
    • The top 2 essays will be made public and voted on by a studio audience and/or online poll. Final winner is notified via an email to the student’s teacher.
  • What will the winner receive?
    • The winning student’s essay will be published on under his/her own byline. Mercury One, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, will award the winner with a scholarship from its “education fund” to be used to further the student’s education.
    • Mercury One will host the winner to a mini-museum experience and studio tour in Irving, Texas. Airfare and lodging for the winner and a guardian will be provided.
    • The winner will receive a commemorative t-shirt featuring the historical figure explored in the essay.
  • How will scholarship funds be raised?
    • Scholarship funds (up to $5,000 per student) will be raised through sales of a t-shirt sold at the Glenn Beck Shop during a 30-day period. At the end of the period, 30% of sales will be donated to the “education fund” of Mercury One, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
  • What are the contest rules?
    • Articles must be a minimum of 1,000 words.
    • Limit one entry per student.
    • All entries must be original, unpublished and not entered in any other contests.
    • Articles must be submitted electronically in a Word document (.doc).
    • Articles must be in standard format: typed, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font.
    • Must include proper citations. NO PLAGIARISM.
    • The judges' selections are final.
    • Articles chosen by judges for will be proofread prior to publishing.
    • Minor editing may be done to correct grammar, punctuation or format changes caused by converting to an electronic format.
    • Copyright remains the property of the author, but entrants agree to be published on
  • What if I missed the deadline or my class didn’t get chosen?
    • Don’t worry, the contest will run again! We will choose a different figure from history and a different group of students from across the nation for another chance to win!