History Essay Contests 2012 Ford

About the

Ford Driving Dreams Tour

The Ford Driving Dreams Tour is designed to motivate students to complete high school on time and to pursue higher education. The Ford Motor Company Fund program targets high schools with a significant Latino student population and brings Ford Fund educational initiatives and partnerships to a community to create a deep impact. In Los Angeles, the Tour will be implemented in three schools through partnerships with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI). The Tour includes financial assistance through motivational pep rallies or student assemblies, scholarships for students, an essay contest in which thousands of students are invited to share their dreams, and the opportunity for students to apply to a week of leadership development training in Washington, D.C.

Launched in 2012, the program has reached more than 75,000 students in California, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Texas, and Panama. Ford Driving Dreams initiatives, including the Tour, have delivered more than $3 million in educational resources such as scholarships, college preparedness, tutoring programs, parental engagement, and motivational activities. To learn more, please visit www.FordDrivingDreams.com. In 2015, Ford Driving Dreams was selected by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics as a "Bright Spot in Hispanic Education," for addressing high school dropout rate.

Motivational Pep Rallies
An empowerment speaker will share his/her inspirational story and challenge students to be resilient and pursue higher education during a pep rally at each school. Students will also learn about the essay contest and the scholarship opportunities available to them listed below.

Ford Blue Oval Scholarships
Ford will provide five $2,000 non-renewable scholarships to high school seniors at each of the Los Angeles Ford Driving Dreams Tour participating schools.

Special Event
Ford will host a special event to celebrate and highlight the essay contest and scholarship winners in Spring 2017.

Leadership Development Opportunity
Ford Driving Dreams Tour participants are also invited to apply to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Ready to Lead NextGen week-long summer program in Washington, D.C. Additional details will be provided in Spring 2017.

Event Details

  • Date: TBD

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA

  • Scholarship Deadline: TBD

  • Audience: LA Unified School District

  • Parking: Varies by location

Apply for the Scholarship

Each year the theme for the President Gerald R. Ford Scholarship Essay Challenge reflects on an important part of Gerald R. Ford’s character. High school students from public, private, city, suburban, rural and home schools participate in the contest. Finalists are chosen and recognized at a special awards program at the Museum.

Click here for 2018 President Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge Rules and Guidelines

The President Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge is open to all 9th through 12th grade students. Review the rules and guidelines for the 500-750 word essay on the 2018 theme: courage.

President Gerald R. Ford lived what many people would define as a life of courage. From overcoming family adversity as a child to standing up for his beliefs in college to becoming President of the United States during a time of deep political divide and social unrest, President Ford demonstrated tremendous courage. Examples of courage can be found all throughout our history as well as in our own, everyday lives. Is there someone in history or in your own personal life that you believe exemplifies this character trait? Reflect on your interpretation of courage and share your thoughts in an essay.

Submit your 2018 Essay Online by March 12, 2018

NEW THIS YEAR! Students are invited to submit entries online. To enter online, please click link for online submission below. If mailing your essay, please submit to address provided below.

  • Easily submit your Essay today via our online submission by uploading a PDF
  • Or, submit your Essay by Mail to the following address by March 12, 2018:
    Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
    c/o Clare Shubert
    303 Pearl Street, NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Tips for a Successful Essay

Follow this link to find some helpful resources and suggestions for the pre-writing, writing, and revision process of your scholarship essay.


Utilize the following contacts for questions on the Essay Contest and submissions.

  • President Gerald R. Ford Scholarship Essay Contest Contacts
    Clare Shubert: cshubert@38foundation.org / 616-254-0409
    Kailie West: kwest@38foundation.org

President Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge previous year and past winners

2017 Winners
First Place: Daisy Hagen, 11th Grade, Newaygo High School
Second Place: Maya Trowe, 12th Grade, Forest Hills Eastern High School
Third Place: Deena Hoffman, 12th Grade, Plymouth Christian High School

2017 President Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge Finalists and Winners

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