Rules & Guidelines


All high school juniors (11th graders) enrolled in a United States History course attending public (traditional or charter), private or parochial schools, or home-schooled students between the ages of 15-18. 

Note: Winners must be able to be present at the Freedom of the Seas Awards Gala (Oct. 23, 2021 in San Pedro, Calif.)

CHECKLIST OF REQUIRED ELEMENTS (omissions will affect eligibility):

• An original essay written by you, containing 450 words minimum to 700 words maximum in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, single-spaced, with citations and bibliography.

• In the email header provide: Your Last Name, Your First Initial / 2021 Essay Contest

Your essay must be received by, or before, 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 30, 2021

Submit your essay as a PDF file only, via email to [email protected].

Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count. All notifications will be via the email address you have provided.

Overall Topic

Address the six (6) Required Criteria bullet points below in the context of Vice Admiral Gravely’s three keys to success: Education, Motivation and Perseverance.


  • A brief introduction of yourself, the school you attend, your teacher, and how you learned about this essay contest.
  • Were you aware of VADM Gravely prior to this contest?  If so, in what context and from whom?
  • After learning about the contest, why did you choose to enter?
  • Please provide examples of how VADM Gravely applied the principles of EDUCATION, and MOTIVATION, and PERSEVERANCE during his life. Examples should include all three principles. Cite at least two sources for this element. Do not cite Wikipedia or this website. Please use original source material, such as Gravely’s biography (by author Paul Stillwell). Other historical information can be found in books or online.
  • Provide one example of someone you personally know that has applied the principles of EDUCATION, MOTIVATION, and PERSEVERANCE in their life. This person could be a neighbor, relative, family friend, or member of your community who is living or deceased.
  • If you had the opportunity to meet Vice Admiral Gravely today, what would you say to him, or ask of him? Why?