The Better Hour: A Documentary Film: THE BETTER HOUR: The Legacy of William Wilberforce
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Click here to download a printable flyer to handout or email to your friends.
Click here for printable posters for the contest and movie.

High School Contest

$10,000 first prize,
up to $40,000 total prizes.

The Contest Submission Period Has Closed as of Midnight, March 1, 2008

Thank you all for your great work.

Questions? Email

Your registration secured your place as a contestant and allows you access to the contest guidelines.

Click here for registration FAQs

This contest is sponsored in commemoration of this 200th anniversary of the 1807 abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Awards are made available by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

The contest is inspired by the vision and character of leading activist William Wilberforce and his crusade to end slavery and transform culture. Craft a project that will make your world a better place. Enlist others to help execute your plan and document it online.

The Better Hour ContestProject areas should reflect the issues and concerns of the 69 societies founded or assisted by William Wilberforce (click here for a summary of the concerns).

In addition to an overall first prize winner, there will be prizes for runners up and honorable mentions.

Project areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Modern day forms of slavery
  • Poverty
  • Political or legislative action
  • Education
  • Health
NEW Book! Order Now! CREATING THE BETTER HOUR: Lessons from William Wilberforce
A collection of scholarly reflections on Wilberforce, the Clapham Circle, the unfinished business of slavery, and the transformation of culture.

Be The ChangeBe the Change: Your Guide to Freeing Slaves and Changing the World  by Zach Hunter.

Never has such a bold message flowed with such simple power. Zach will change your life but more importantly it will change the lives of the hundreds of thousands of slaves living in despair. This is an easy-to-read and easy-to-live message filled with quotes, testimonies, and straight up wisdom from a 15 year old.

Project presentations will be submitted entirely online in written form, with photographs allowed, but comprising no more than five pages, with a 2000 word limit, and converted to PDF. No Power Point submissions are allowed.  Although not required for the first prize winner or any submission, there will be a bonus category for video/film addendum materials, with a 3-minute limit in Windows Media File. But all video/film entries must also submit the required written PDF document.

Click here to watch the trailer for the documentary film, coming in fall 2007 to national television, THE BETTER HOUR: The Legacy of William Wilberforce.

The final project deadline is March 1, 2008.

Registration FAQs

  1. Is the contest open to the home educated or home school students?
    Yes, if the student is between the ages of a traditional high school student attending between 9th and 12th grades, generally that would be ages 14 through 17 at some point during next school year.
  2. Must a student be in high school in the year of the award?
    Yes. The student must be in U.S. grades 9-12 (or the international equivalent) in the academic month and year of the submission deadline. (March 1, 2008)
  3. I feel more passionately concerned about a need overseas than one in my own community. May I focus my efforts and project on a need in another country?
    Absolutely. Focus as widely on global issues as you would like. We are looking for kids to take initiative in creative ways to meet a wide variety of needs. Your community near home may become very supportive of your concerns abroad.

  4. Question: I am a teacher and have an idea for a group of students in my class.  Is is OK if I register for the contest?
    Teachers may register in order to get information about this contest because it makes for an engaging class project. The grant was given by a foundation to award a high school student who exemplifies leadership in public service. So one award recipient must decide how they want to receive and use their award--it could be divided among a team or donated to a school. Often a team is mobilized when one leader surfaces to take on the largest burden of planning, delegation and responsibility. Or one student initiates an idea and shows great leadership by enlisting the help of others. The student who will most exert leadership and take the initiative should register as the contestant. There are more details on the project submission form and guidelines for how to list all other students who participate. A teacher can then be listed as the mentor.
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