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Share your thoughts for the Think-Off by April 1

The 29th annual Think-Off question is a challenging philosophical dilemma meant to inspire thinkers from all walks of life.

Dan Tschida (right) stands next to Bill Sutherland (left) after being awarded first place at the Great American Think-Off at New York Mills Secondary's auditorium on Saturday, June 12. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

After a public vote, the 2022 Great American Think-Off question is " Which should be more important: personal choice or social responsibility?"

The Great American Think-Off is an annual philosophical essay and debate competition in rural New York Mills. The contest is free to enter and open to all.

When you make an important decision, what do you consider in your assessment of pros and cons? Certainly you think about how that choice will affect you personally…how about its impact on society? Which is more important to you: your personal gain/loss, or a sense of responsibility to the whole?

Everyone has experienced navigating the balance between personal choice and social responsibility…so which do you think should be more important? This is the topic put forth by the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center Great American Think-Off committee.

People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit an essay of 750 words maximum for a chance to win cash prizes and participate in the live debate. Entrants should take a strong stand, basing their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction.


Essays are due April 1. There is no fee to enter.

The four finalists will be announced on May 1 and each will receive $500 plus travel expenses to the debate held on June 11.

For additional contest details, visit or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

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