Freshman Summer Reading Essay Contest

We are pleased to announce the inaugural Freshman Summer Reading Essay Contest, open to all members of the Sacred Heart University class of 2017. The general topic of the essay, as you might expect, is our Summer Reading,  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  In the upcoming months, you will hear the voices of our faculty members and even the voice of one of the Lacks children, David “Sonny” Lacks, but the discussion stands incomplete without the most important voice of all—your voice, the voice and voices of the men and women who are the Sacred Heart University class of 2017. 

  • We will be awarding four prizes, and the winners’ names will be announced at the David “Sonny” Lacks presentation on September 11.
    • First Prize:  $500.00 (SHU Bookstore Gift Card)
    • Second Prize:  $300.00 (SHU Bookstore Gift Card)
    • Two Honorable Mention Prizes: $100.00 each (SHU Bookstore Gift Cards).
  • Length:  750-1,000 Words typed/double-spaced.  Entries must be submitted via e-mail as attached Word Document. All entries must be received by August 5, 2013.  The e-mail address for entries is     
  • Format: The first page of your essay (no cover pages please) should have your full name in the upper left corner and a title centered over the text.  Each page should have your last name and the page number in the upper right corner (e.g., Smith-2).

Please use this prompt as a guide as you write. We are not, however, asking simply for answers to the questions in the prompt; instead we are looking for a coherent, intelligent, and logically organized essay that stems from your reading of Skloot’s text and adds to our understanding of its importance.


As you enter college and after reflecting on your reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, what can you learn from this book that might be significant as you begin this new chapter in your life?  Our Common Core asks us to consider how we might live lives of meaning and purpose.  From reading Skloot’s text and considering the issues and complexities she presents, how might it offer us some guidance—or perhaps some warning-- as we embark on our personal journeys toward lives of meaning and purpose? 

Please e-mail entries as attached Word Documents only to

The deadline is August 5, 2013.  We look forward to your presentations.


  • Freshman Summer Reading Essay Contest