The Fracchia Prize – 2021

The San Francisco Historical Society is excited to announce the third annual Fracchia Prize.  This contest is endorsed by Mayor London Breed and co-sponsored by SF City Guides. It is open to any student attending a high school in San Francisco.  Interested candidates are required to submit an original and properly cited written work consisting of between 1,200 and 1,600 words, based on the prompt.  The work can include up to three high definition photos that support the text. Entries may be submitted electronically by email (or mail as a last resort). Instructions for submission are located on the Fracchia Prize 2021 Entry Form (pdf).

Charles A. Fracchia (pronounced FROCK-ee-ya) is the founder and President Emeritus of the San Francisco Historical Society.

Due to ongoing school closures, the deadline has been extended to July 15, 2021

Writing Prompts

Choose one of the following prompts and write an essay in response to the prompt. Use historical facts to support your opinions.

Civic Monuments—How Should We View Them?

Choose a San Francisco monument that commemorates a person or an event that’s significant in our city’s history and also represents a controversy. Write an essay about the monument that answers these questions:

  • Why is this person or event important to San Francisco’s history?
  • What controversy exists about the person or event?
  • In your opinion, should the monument be removed? Should it be left as-is? Should a plaque or narrative be added to tell a more complete story?
  • What can we learn from the controversy?

Civic Monuments—Who’s Been Left Out?

San Francisco has hundreds of monuments honoring people who influenced our city’s history. Think of a person who is important to San Francisco’s history for whom a monument does not yet exist. Write an essay explaining why that person should be honored with a monument. Answer these questions:

  • Why is this individual important in our city’s history?
  • Why should he or she be honored with a monument?
  • Where might the monument be placed?
  • What would the monument be like–What features does it have? What’s special about it?

(For the purposes of this essay, a monument is defined as a statue of a person or event.)

Download a list of existing San Francisco monuments and a map showing their locations HERE.

2021 Fracchia Essay Award Poster


First Place – $2,500 and publication of the work in The Argonaut

Second Place – $1,500 and publication of the work in Panorama

Third Place – $1,000 and publication of the work in Panorama

All entries will be judged by a panel looking for strong writing skills, well-chosen monuments, accurate information, proper citations, and the possible use of primary and secondary sources.

Winners will attend a special ceremony to receive their awards.

Please download and fill out the Fracchia Prize 2021 Entry Form (pdf).
You must be a resident of San Francisco to apply.
Deadline for Submission: July 15, 2021
Please submit by email along with your article to:

  • Writing to be between 1200 and 1600 words (double spaced).
  • All writing must be yours (no borrowing other’s text or use of extensive quotations).
  • Article file format: PDF is much preferred (a Google doc can be downloaded as a PDF file; the free and open source OpenOffice or LibreOffice also export PDF format); in case you have Word, you may submit in this format. Please keep your submission under 10MB file size. Whatever word editor you use, please make sure to keep a copy of your article AND associated image files in their original formats for possible further editing.
  • Photography is optional and should be kept, if used, to no more than 3 shots.

Winning submissions from the 2019 and 2020 Frachia Prize competitions

First Prize Winners: 2019, 2020 – from The Argonaut

2020 Winners – from Panorama

In the News

Don’t call Golden Gate Park a civic asset. It’s so much more than that
SF Chronicle

SF Historical Society contest inspires next generation of local historians
SF Examiner

Lincoln H.S. Junior Wins Award for GG Park Essay
Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon