Sertoma Club Of Nashville Essay Contest


The Sertoma Club has a central mission of supporting causes related to Communicative Disorders, primarily including speech or hearing concerns. Additionally, the club is dedicated to promoting education, civic responsibility, and opportunities for those with special needs.

Funding Support
As such, the Club divides its charitable focuses into four primary groups and allocates its giving and support accordingly. Those four areas include:

1) The Freedom Essay Scholarship program – a contest for area high school seniors that picks a topic related to a constitutional or legal issue that is currently facing our country. Students are encouraged to write a one-page essay on that topic. At least three area people (non-club members) judge the essays on a standardized criteria. The winner gets a $3500 scholarship to the college or university of his/her choice. Three runner’s up are also chose and receive $2,000 scholarships to the institution of higher learning of their respective choices as well.

2) Causes that focus on speech or hearing issues – area charities that serve individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have a speech disorder. A portion of our funds reserved for charitable giving by the Club are allocated each year specifically for nonprofit organizations or groups with this focus.

3) Events specifically sponsored by the Club to benefit our target focus or to raise money for charitable purposes – Examples of these include our annual Fantasy Baseball Camp for deaf and hard of hearing youth.

4) Other not-for-profit organizations or causes that provide specific services in which the Club has a special interest. – Examples include Big Brothers, the YMCA summer camp for youth, a tornado relief fund provided for area residents who lost their homes.

Policy: Gallatin Sertoma Club was established as a community service organization with charitable and civic purposes. Its main area of charitable interest is on communicative disorders including, but not limited to, speech and hearing-related issues. However, it also recognizes the need to periodically support with its time, effort or monies other charitable organizations or activities in the community that its members deem worthy of consideration.

Process: Requests for support donor-initiated project support shall be submitted to the Club president and/or the Club Board chairman in writing. An exception to this may be considered if the request is related to an emergency situation and/or where there is a very short timeline requiring a decision.

1. Written applications must contain the following information:

a) Who will be the recipient (individual or organization)?
b) How will the funds be used?
c) What is the intended outcome or benefit?
d) Why is this request important?
e) When is this needed?
f) Amount requested?
g) How will the Sertoma Club of Nashville be recognized?
h) Contact information for recipient and for request sponsor.

2. Charitable funds provided by the Club may not typically be used for any of the following:

a) General operating expenses
b) Salaries of staff
c) Attendance at conferences or conventions (Sertoma International already has a special scholarship program for this type of request)
d) Investments, endowments, or additions to any reserve funds of the requesting entity
e) Purchase of goods, equipment or other items to be used for non-charitable purposes or for the personal benefit of staff or individuals associated with the requesting party (an exception to this might be to purchase a hearing aid for a specific individual who cannot afford one)
f) Any gambling or raffle-related activity

Following final approval, responsibility for disbursing the funds that were approved shall lie with the Club Treasurer and the Club Executive Director. A representative of the recipient shall be invited to a general membership meeting to receive the check.

Hands-on Support
The Club also has a history of having its members roll up their sleeves and provide time, skills, and some of their own resources to address area needs. Examples of this include building ramps for wheelchair-access to buildings and homes, ring the Christmas bells for the Salvation Army, providing additional manpower for the Fantasy Baseball Camp in conjunction with the Nashville Sounds baseball team, etc.

57th Annual Freedom Essay Contest


To promote critical thinking in our youth about the various legal, moral, and philosophical issues that affect the freedoms that are enjoyed in the United States of America.

TOPIC FOR 2016-2017:

“The First Amendment provides, in part, that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” When the First Amendment was ratified, the ease of access to the Internet and the ability to communicate quickly to millions of people through the Internet could not have been contemplated. While the Internet can empower positive speech and communications for safety and good purposes such as fundraising, weather alerts, scientific discovery, etc., the Internet can also empower negative speech for evil purposes leading to dangerous results such as bullying, hate speech, and terrorism. Should the First Amendment be changed to address speech in the Internet Age? If so how should it be changed and why? If not, please explain.”


The Sertoma Club of Nashville will award the top winners of the contest with the following:
– Winner (1): Scholarship in the amount of $3,500
– Runner’s up (3): Scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each

The scholarships will be forwarded to the accredited institution of higher learning of the student’s choice when they are accepted and registered, and upon verification by that institution.

A $100 cash award will be presented to each school represented by the winners.


All 12th grade high school students (or home school equivalent) in Davidson, Cheatham, Wilson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, and Williamson Counties, who intend to attend an accredited institution of higher learning beginning in 2016, are eligible for this contest. The sons and daughters of Sertoma Club members are not eligible.


1. The essays shall be limited to one (1) page and three hundred (300) words or less. Papers exceeding these limitations will be declared ineligible.
2. The essay must be typewritten and double-spaced. Please use only one side of 8 ½” by 11” paper with due regard for appearance, grammar, and length.
3. Do not use cover pages. The contestant’s name must be printed in the extreme upper left-hand corner and high school name (or home school designation) in extreme upper right corner.
4. The paper must be original and composed by the student.
5. All direct quotations must be referenced appropriately as a footnote.


1. Essays will be judged primarily on the basis of content.
2. Essays submitted by each high school will be judged by a committee comprised of industry professionals.


1 For students, all essays shall be turned in to their respective high school scholarship representative (Principal, Guidance Counselor, etc.) by November 30, 2016
2. The high school scholarship representative shall select three essays that are the most outstanding and forward them by first class mail to the Sertoma Club of Nashville, postmarked no later than December 14, 2016.
Sertoma Club of Nashville
P.O. Box 282486
Nashville, TN 37228
The name of the school must appear on the envelope.
3. Scholarship winners will be notified mid-January, 2016.
4. Scholarship winners will read their essays and be presented with their awards at the Sertoma Club awards banquet on February 28, 2017. The families of the award winners and representatives of the winning high school are invited to attend.

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