The Order encourages all councils and assemblies to sponsor the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest at schools in their communities. The essay contest is a creative way to encourage young people to become citizens who are firmly grounded in the Faith.

The Order has expanded the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest to all Catholic students — in public, private or parochial schools — in grades 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 during the current school year. The contest has also been expanded to go through the different levels of competition to the international level.


Theme and Topic

The theme of the essay contest is “Going to the Peripheries.” The contest opens the doors of young minds, enabling the entrants to be creative, thoughtful and introspective in their work.

Pope Francis talks about the need for the church, that is for all of us, to go to what Pope Francis calls the peripheries, the margins – those living in poverty, the homeless, the disabled and those who feel overlooked and marginalized.  Discuss the role of the Catholic Church going to the peripheries, then select one of the following ideas to complete your essay:
a) Describe the work of one widely known current Catholic who went to the periphery.
b) Describe the work of one widely known historical Catholic who went to the periphery.
c) Describe the work of one person in your life, who helps alleviate human suffering.


  • Essays must reflect the assigned theme and topic, and be submitted by the published deadline.
  • Essays must be the student’s original work.
  • Essays must be typed on 8 1/2” X 11” paper, one sided, double spaced, with one-inch margins.
  • Essays must be between 500 and 750 words long.
  • The student’s name should appear only on the official Knights of Columbus Essay Contest entry form which should be stapled to the essay.
  • All entries become the property of the Knights of Columbus and will not be returned.


July/August: Councils, assemblies and circles order Knights of Columbus Essay Contest Kits from the Supreme Council Office. (Print Version – Online Version)

August/September: Councils, assemblies and circles contact schools to secure cooperation. At this time the date, place and means of recognizing winners should be determined.

September/October: Students write essays. Essays should be submitted to judges by October 15.

October/November: Judges review essays for council level.