Lompoc Odd Fellows

Essay Contest Rules - $1,000 Odd Fellows Annual Scholarship


Blochman Union Elementary
Lompoc Unified
Orcutt Union Elementary
Santa Maria Joint Union High
Santa Ynez Valley Union High
SBE – Olive Grove Charter

Our 2018 Winner Cassi Colangelo!

Cassi Colangelo of Santa Maria won our inagural essay scholarship contest in 2018. Presenting Cassi with the check made out to the school she is attending at the University of California Los Angeles is our Noble Grand Joe Avila, Jr. and Warden Joseph Dowdy. When asked what her major will be, she said that she plans to study English and Administration and will return to the Central Coast to become a school principal; perhaps in her hometown of Santa Maria. We at the Odd Fellows wish Cassi the best of luck in her studies and congratulate her on her win of $1,000 toward her studies. We also hope to receive news of her success at school and in her chosen career path and perhaps she will visit us again where she will be just as welcome as she was when she won. We appreciate Cassi’s willingness to learn more about Odd Fellows and Rebekahs and to write about us. Who’s next?


Answer the Question:
If you were an Odd Fellow, what would you do?

Pick a Project and Tell Us How You Would Do it...

Would you raise funds for a worthy project? Would you create a volunteer effort to do something no one else is doing? How would you make a difference with Odd Fellows behind you?  Take a look at our website, research Odd Fellows on the web and tell us what you would do if you were an Odd Fellow in at least 300 words.


The first Odd Fellows lodge in California was founded in 1849 exactly one year before statehood as the Golden Age of Fraternalism was about to dawn.

Historians note that in 1900, 50 years after California became a state, that 20% of all American adults were members of one or more fraternal organizations. Some sources claim it was as high as 40%! Can you imagine one to two out of every five adults were in a fraternity whose primary benefit was mutual aid and held a mandate to help others?

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was the largest of these fraternal organizations and in large part because of the mutual-aid benefits as there was no “safety net” for those who fell on hard times.

The Odd Fellows were progressive for their time supporting the start of a sister organization for women in 1851 called Rebekahs; this was a time when women were discouraged in general from activities common among men and 70 years before women were allowed the right to vote.

With so many Californians joining Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, the organization was woven into the fabric of our society in so many ways (which can still be seen if you know where to look). Odd Fellows cemeteries and orphan homes still exist today although many have changed hands or closed.

Our mission has given us the opportunity to help so many people that our positive impact on America is difficult to imagine. In 1868, total aid in one year given through our mission to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan” was $951,556.21; today that amount is equal to over 2 trillion dollars.

Our mission has changed over the years. In 1935, the Social Security Act was signed into law by an Odd Fellow (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) to help the blind, the handicapped, the elderly and others in need. This and other factors shifted our focus to other ways to fulfill our mission such as investing in medical research to help people regain their eyesight. Few people know our history and the positive impact we have had yet we continue to help.

2019 Essay Contest Official Rules

Essay Contest Prize

One finalist will receive a scholarship award of $1,000.

The Essay Contest Prizes are sponsored by the Lompoc Odd Fellows.


Contest is officially launched with publication on our website.
Letters announcing the contest are sent to respective high school principals and school district offices and press release for general media.

Deadline for entries submitted by mail, web and email.

Five finalists will be selected by lodge committee.
Finalists will be notified by email and/or phone and on our website.
Final judging and winners announced at our lodge.

The winner and their school will be notified by email and phone and letter.


  • High school seniors of the qualifying school districts are asked to write and submit an essay based on the theme of the Essay Contest (for that year) in 300 to 1,000 words.
  • Entry form on our website at the bottom of this page.
  • Students may enter one of THREE ways: (1) Download the entry form, collect required signatures and then mail it in by US Post with the printed essay. Mailed entries postmarked after May 31, 2019, will not be considered. (2) Download the entry form, fill it out completely, use a camera to take a picture of the signed entry form and upload the picture with a PDF of the essay by May 31, 2019. (3) Use the website to enter by May 31, 2019.
  • Students may visit our lodge for additional research when accompanied by a parent on nights that our Odd Fellows and Rebekahs lodges are in session. Again, see our website at http://LompocOddFellows.com for more information. Our dress code is business casual.
  • Prize checks will be made out to the school of choice in the name of the winner.
  • Family members of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are ineligible to enter this essay contest as the IOOF (both nationally and on the state level) have their own scholarship programs for lodge members and their family.
  • Submissions are final without modifications (changes, corrections, etc.).
  • Students may not enter for someone else or enter more than once.
  • Any social media results will be tallied at the end of the contest on the URLs provided.


  • Essays will be graded on a 100-point system with points deducted for writing issues such as grammar and writing quality. Double-check your entry! Ask your parent to read it for you!
  • Only winners and finalists will receive feedback on their essays.
  • BONUS POINTS: A well-written essay with no extra points will score higher than one with bonus points and mistakes.
  • 2 bonus points will be awarded to entries when a parent(s) or guardian(s) grant permission by signed letter to use the entrant’s picture and essay in print or electronic (web-based) publishing.
  • 2 bonus points may be gained by accompanying documentation from a faculty member that the essay was read aloud in front of a class or larger audience. This documentation must be on school stationery and copied to the head of the school and school district.
  • 2 bonus points may be gained by providing proof that the entrant has (using social media) entered this contest, is helping to promote this contest and is sharing their reason(s) to enter in a way that supports this contest.
  • 3 bonus points may be gained by reading the essay in person at our lodge at one of our meetings before final judging in June 7, 2019. See our website for our meeting dates.
  • The best information about Odd Fellows may be found on this site and on the IOOF website (http://IOOF.org) and for California IOOF (http://CAIOOF.org) but these should be used primarily for fact-checking. There are numerous books, e-books and other materials on Odd Fellows that may tell more personal stories and give better insight into Odd Fellows. Our website includes a post about the “Grand Old Man of Lompoc” who was an Odd Fellow. You may find that in your family there is an Odd Fellow. Interview them. Gather ideas. Do your best and you can’t go wrong!7

Permissions Granted

By entering this contest, you agree to all the contest rules and requirements without amendment:

You certify (and with your parent/guardian’s consent to do so) that your essay was written by you and any material you provide (such as your picture) includes permission by your parent/guardian and yourself to publish it (in print or web-based form) in whole or in part at your school, in the news media or our Odd Fellows website or affiliated websites of a higher jurisdiction to our own.

We will not publish any information that is beyond the usual and customary practice to promote winners and finalists and nothing else beyond what you submit or provide when you enter this contest. The only information that we will publish beyond what you submit is your status as the winner or as a finalist during or after the contest has concluded. We may ask you for an interview after the contest.

Privacy and Legal

Your privacy is something we respect completely; no information collected will ever be sold. We will use your contact information only to notify you if you have won unless there are questions that arise from your entry. Entry in this essay contest lawfully assumes that you irrevocably release, indemnify and hold harmless the sponsor and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows national and state organizations for any reason.

If your entry is disputed as a violation of any copyrighted material or creates any legal issues, your entry will be disqualified and grants us freedom from any claims or penalties. If your entry is too similar to another entry, then both will be disqualified.

This contest is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations and taxes and are subject to revision only when necessary to respond to unforeseen circumstances which may alter the outcome.

Void where prohibited. No purchase or membership is necessary to enter or win. Rules are subject to change and entrant may withdraw at any time by phone or email.

Entry Choice

Ready to Enter Your Essay?

Step 1

Choose How You Will Enter

Step 2

Print, Complete and Sign

Right-click or click to download our Essay Contest Entry Form (printable PDF) to fill out, sign and get all of your documents to us by sending in the mail, emailing to us or uploading below:

Step 2

A. Print, Complete and Sign

Right-click or click to download our Essay Contest Entry Form (printable PDF) to fill out and sign.

Send In By Email

B. Scan and Email All Documents

After you have printed, completed and signed the Essay Contest Entry Form (parent/guardian signature is required), scan the form using a mobile app scanning program such as Google's Photoscan and then upload it, the essay and other documents to the following email address:


First and Last
First and Last

Maximum file size: 67.11MB

Maximum file size: 67.11MB

Maximum file size: 67.11MB

Maximum file size: 67.11MB

Regardless of how you enter, print this form, sign and either send in or take a picture (or scan) the signed document then upload to complete your entry.
Regardless of how you enter, print this form, sign and either send in or take a picture (or scan) the signed document then upload to complete your entry.