This I Believe Illinois
This I Believe Illinois is our annual essay program for Illinois high school seniors. An expression of where their minds are as they prepare to enter the adult world.
Starting as a five minute radio program hosted by Edward R. Murrow in 1951, This I Believe gave contributors the chance to write a short essay articulating what they believe. Since then the idea has been adopted by NPR Illinois.
2017 will be the eleventh class to share what they believe with NPR Illinois!
The State Journal-Register supports this effort by printing the selected essays in The Voice section of the newspaper.
NPR Illinois airs the essays in their authors' voices. The audio is streamed below. In 2007, the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise, partnered with NPR Illinois to sponsor This I Believe Illinois. Each year ten selected authors read their essays at a Rotary Club meeting where the club presents each student with a $100 scholarship.
Students will be able to submit their essays through this page starting January 2, 2017. The deadline for essay submissions is January 26, 2017 at 11:59:59 p.m.
Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 500 words. That’s about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.
- Alexa Brown - Southeast H.S. - I Believe in Melanin (February 15)
- Jordan Lott - Pawnee H.S. - My Personal Veggie Tale (February 16)
- Kanicia Green - Lanphier - Selfies (February 17)
- Hannah Mobley - Lanphier H.S. - Collecting Bottles (February 18)
- Janie Sutherd - Lanphier H.S. - Dogs Can Learn New Trick, And Teach Them Too (February 19)
- Noah Schlosser - Springfield H.S. - Life Needs More Cowbell (February 22)
- Olivia Moore - Riverton H.S. - Laugh A Little (February 23)
- Isra Hasnain - Maroa-Forsyth H.S. - Don't Fear The Front Row (February 24)
- Matt Brown - Lanphier H.S. - (Partially) Black Comedy (February 25)
- Aron Suszko - Springfield H.S.
- Kaytlin Jacoby - Taylorville H.S.
- Jillian Cole - Springfield H.S.
- Larissa Mulch - Southeast H.S.
- Brett Palmer - Lanphier H.S.
- Tess Peterson - Springfield H.S.
- Kanisha Granderson - Lanphier H.S.
- Jacob Pearson - Rochester H.S.
- Shelton Cottle - Beardstown H.S.
- Maggie Lenkart - Southeast H.S.
- Katherine Bowman - Southeast HS
- Alex Brosseau - Southeast HS
- Stephanie Dunn - Lanphier HS
- Gabrielle Gardner - Southeast HS
- Kelsey Hubble - Southeast HS
- Pauline Kersjes - Springfield HS
- Don Knott - Jacksonville HS
- Mason Lott - Pawnee HS - A Squirrely Story
- Amelia Paries - Lanphier HS
- Abagail Perrero - Southeast HS
- Samantha Comerford - Rochester HS - Kindness
- Elaina Conley-Keck - Springfield HS - Sharing Meals
- Renee DeFrees - Lanphier HS - Tough Times in Life Teach You How Strong You Really Are
- Elisabeth Dunn - Sangamon Valley HS - The Girl Detective and Me
- Vlada Gudzenko - Springfield HS - Hallmarks
- Natalie Knox - Springfield HS - Speak Up for What Your Believe In
- Kristen Koch - Jacksonville HS - Pickle Dog
- Jacob Roth - Jacksonville HS - Wetsuits
- Callista Suarez - Southeast HS - Leaping into Action
- Aaron Vasquez - Being the Little Big Brother
- Joshua Cleaver - Southeast HS - I Am History
- Maggie Cornelius - Springfield HS - "Wakaru" - To Understand
- Travis Lascody - Lanphier HS - Dreadlocks
- Mackenzie McDermott - Springfield HS - Anything Boys Can Do
- Mariah Pattie - Springfield HS - Create Your Future
- Ally M Perko - Springfield HS - On the Death of My Father
- Olivia Rosen - Springfield HS - The Trouble with "Troubled"
- Amena Tayyab - Springfield HS - Always an American
- Teresa Tran - Southeast HS - Stroke Me a Key or Two
- Derinn Wallace - Glenwood HS - Born This Way
- Luke Buscher - Southeast HS - The Fear of Ourselves
- Molly Ducker - Springfield HS - Breaking Barriers
- Kim King - Kincaid HS - A Question of Faith
- Hannah Kolkmeier - Springfield HS - Question Everything
- Virginia Moore - Springfield HS - More Moores
- Rachel Pasko - Southeaset HS - True Love Takes Effort
- Callie Smith - Springfield HS - I Believe in Beatlemania
- Bennett Stephens - Springfield HS - Normalcy
- Farah Tamizuddin - Springfield HS - Making Waves
- Claire Watson - Riverton HS - Reading Aloud
- Justin Castelli - Lovington HS - No Regrets
- Morgan Clark - Astoria HS - Understanding One Another
- Maddie Fetter - Springfield HS - But Mostly Hearts
- Joc French - Lovington HS - Living with "CP"
- Carolyn McMenamin - Springfield HS - Written Sentiments
- Cameron Rader - Lovington HS - We Are Our Own Worst Critics
- Elly Schoenburg - Springfield HS - Community
- Daniel Schultz - Astoria HS - Freedom From The Past
- Alissa Yoder - Lovington HS - Moving Forward
- Hannah Alzugaray - Lanphier HS - A Smile Can Save a Life
- Anthony Cohen - Southeast HS - I Believe in Childhood
- Meyasha Clemons - Lanphier HS - Strength
- Ryan Cookson - Lanphier HS - Creating Your Own Unique Path
- Elly Gates - Springfield HS - Books
- Jarrod Hill - Southeast HS - Jazz
- Caitlin Kienzler - Southeast HS - Beauty is Found in Unexpected Places
- Angie Martin - Southeast HS - Miracles
- Dylan Sanders - Lanphier HS - Second Chances
- Nick Zyznieuski - Springfield HS - The Environment
- Claudio Borges-Neto - Springfield HS - Math
- Alfred Brown - Lanphier HS - An Unlikely Hero
- Julia Christensen - Springfield HS - A Caterpillar Named Bob
- Melanie Cornell - Springfield HS - Best Buddies
- Sasha Elmore - Lanphier HS - The Power of Forgiveness
- Samira Hussein - Springfield HS - The Therapeutic Value of Laughter
- Elizabeth Ketchum - Springfield HS - The Power of Women
- Sharon Kim - Springfield HS - Embracing My Culture
- Nancy Lin - Springfield HS - The American Dream
- Jasmyn McKenna - Springfield HS - To be Lazy is to be Happy