In 2022, The National Coalition Against Censorship took the first step toward creating a national network of high school free speech clubs. Working with students in eight states, Student Advocates for Speech (SAS) opened clubs in 10 schools.

Applications for the 2023-2024 school year have closed. Applications will reopen in the spring of 2024.

Please visit the Student Advocates for Speech FAQ to learn more about our program. 

SAS Featured in NCTE’s

Council Chronicle 


SAS provides the next generation of leaders with tools to advocate for freedom of expression as both a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy and to promote the essential principles of free expression.

Watch our 2022 leaders in action.


The goal of SAS is to help students to fight for their own free speech rights, as well as the rights of others, including those they disagree with and amplifying the voices of young people in democratic civic life.

Learn more about the SAS program.

Youth Advocates

SAS provides training in public speaking, organizing events and writing articles for Banned Book Week, National Day of Writing, and Student Press Freedom Day.

Meet our impressive bench of SAS trainers

** 2023 Teen Short Essay Contest **

Topic: How a Banned Book Changed My Life

Submissions Now Closed

For Ages 14-18

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Impact and Legacy Fund are co-sponsoring a new essay contest for high school students!

A panel of judges will select two winners who will receive $250 in credit for Kindle or Apple Books and read their essays aloud via zoom at the 2023 SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund Children’s Book Changemakers virtual conference on June 8 at 7 pm EST/6 pm CST/4 pm PST. The winners will also have the opportunity to interview (and be interviewed by) Ellen Hopkins, acclaimed banned author of “Crank.”

Currently, 11 SAS students have created clubs that serve more than 8,000 students, including educational censorship hotspots like Texas, Florida, and Missouri. Participants have attended virtual advocacy training, led national conversations with banned book authors, reporters, and journalists, and worked with media to amplify their voices through interviews and op-eds.


Program Collaborators

Student Advocates for Speech is administered by the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Program. Please contact NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Coordinator Gianmarco Antosca at [email protected]

Your donation will help us foster the next generation of advocates.  Each dollar equals endless opportunities for our nation’s youth. Please contact NCAC’s Development Director  Josh Corday  [email protected] to  learn how you can lend
your support.