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Sally Geoghegan '24 places 3rd in national essay contest

Being published is nothing new for Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Sally Geoghegan ’24. Along with her numerous articles in the school’s student newspaper, Sally wrote a novella last year in the Academy’s Novel Writing class.

Sally added to her list of published works when her piece for the Americans United National Essay contest on the topic of the Separation of Church and State placed third. Sally’s essay was published on the organization’s website in January.

“I decided to enter the contest because I feel passionately about church-state separation,” Sally said. “The prize money was also an incentive, but more importantly, the chance to have my writing published on the Americans United website was very exciting to me as an aspiring author. Americans United is an organization that I strongly support, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic with their audience.”

Sally learned she placed third in late November. She won $500.

“I am incredibly excited about placing third in a national contest,” Sally beamed. “Having my work published on the website of a national organization is a wonderful opportunity. I am proud of myself and plan on entering more essay contests like this in the future.”

All in all, Sally said she spent 5-7 hours researching and writing the essay, which was 999 words.

“The essay prompt was a selection of recent Supreme Court rulings, and participants had to pick one or multiple and argue how they were a violation of the separation of church and state,” she explained. “I chose Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case that resulted in the overturning of Roe v Wade and ended federal protection of abortion rights. As a pro-choice person who feels strongly about the issue, I argued that, in my opinion, this decision violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

Alicia Johnson, the National Organizer and Student Network Manager for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, wrote to Sally: “AU received many amazing essays and yours stood out for your especially strong writing and well-researched arguments related to the RCRC and abortion law in Poland.”


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