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11th Annual Gravely Experience Essay Contest



Attention 11th grade students!
You are eligible to participate in our annual Gravely Experience Essay Contest. Scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000 will be awarded.


All high school juniors (11th graders) enrolled in a United States History Course attending public (traditional or chapter), private or parochial schools, or home-schooled students between the ages of 15-18. Winners must be able to attend the Freedom of the Seas Awards Gala on Oct. 19, 2024 in San Pedro, California to receive their scholarships.


Essay Requirements:
    • Must be an original work written by the contestant
    • 700 minimum to 1,000 maximum words
    • Single spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font
    • APA Format with in-text citations and bibliography
    • An adult must read the contestant’s essay and complete the review form before the essay is submitted
    • Must be saved and submitted in PDF format along with the completed review form
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, MOTIVATION, and PERSEVERANCE during his life. You must provide a different example for each principle. Cite at least two sources for the element. Do not cite Wikipedia or this website. YouTube video sources will only be accepted from reputable organizations. Please use original source materials, such as Gravely’s biography (by author Paul Stillwell).
    • Discuss one major issue facing our society today and how applying the principles of EDUCATION, MOTIVATION, and PERSEVERANCE could help resolve the issue.
    • If you had the opportunity to meet Vice Admiral Gravely today, what would you say to him, or ask of him? Why?


Essays must be submitted via email to by, or before, 11:59pm on Sunday, May 11, 2024.


Reach out to Battleship IOWA’s Education Manager, Tiffany Ellerbeck, at, with any questions.

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