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Composition Contest

The English department at Western Kentucky University is pleased to announce our fifth annual Composition  Contest. Students should visit the links on the right to complete an application and submit a 500-750-word essay (MLA style; pdf format) based on the prompt below. The English department will invite finalists, their teachers, and family to campus for a reception and ceremony on March 26, 2022 where they will be recognized.

The winners will receive scholarships if they choose to major or minor in English at WKU and cash prizes whether or not they attend WKU. First Place: $500 Scholarship and $150 cash; Second Place: $300 Scholarship and $100 cash; Third Place: $200 Scholarship.. Application and compositions submissions are due March 4th.

Prompt:  The coronavirus has killed over 650,000 people in the U.S. in the last year and a half. In December 2020, the first covid vaccine received emergency use authorization (EUA) for people over 17 from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), followed soon by two other vaccines. By May 2021, the first vaccine EUA was extended to people as young as 12. By late August 2021, the first emergency authorized vaccine got full FDA approval. By early September, despite availability of vaccines in the US, daily deaths from covid averaged around 1,500—almost completely in unvaccinated people. On September 9, President Biden announced vaccine requirements for federal workers and contractors in addition to an Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requirement that all businesses employing 100 or more people must require the vaccine or a weekly negative covid test. With attitudes toward the vaccine sharply divided along partisan lines, reaction to these vaccine requirements was predictably divided as well.

Carefully read the following four sources. Then synthesize material from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-developed essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies the notion that a federal vaccine mandate is the best way to increase vaccination and decrease the spread of covid.

Your argument should be the focus of your essay. Use the sources to develop your argument and explain the reasoning for it. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from whether through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. You may cite the sources by using the author’s last names in parentheses below.

Source A (Bellafante)
Source B (Lea)
Source C (Soave)
Source D (Wen)









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 Last Modified 11/9/21