Historic essay contest open to local students

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The fourth annual Student Essay Contest on Kootenai County History, sponsored by the Kootenai County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), is open through Dec. 1.

The contest is available to public, private and homeschool students who reside in Kootenai County. To qualify, students must be enrolled in middle school (grades 6-8), or high school (grades 9-12) for the 2017-18 school year.

Students are asked to imagine they are a Kootenai County commissioner in the year 1910 who has been tasked to write a letter responding to an inquiry from a lumber mill owner in Minnesota. The fictitious business owner, “Mr. Smith,” is thinking about moving his business and family to Kootenai County and has posed several questions about life here in 1910.

Essays are to be in the form of a letter to Mr. Smith answering one or more of his nine questions in an effort to convince him to relocate to Kootenai County. Those interested in participating can find the contest flyer, complete contest rules and guidelines and “Mr. Smith’s” questions on the county’s website www.kcgov.org and on the HPC’s new Facebook page @KCHPC.

Flyers will be distributed to schools, community libraries, homeschool support organizations and several retail venues throughout the county over the next several days.

Cash and other prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners at both the middle and high school levels. First-place winners receive $200, second-place winners receive $100 and third-place winners receive $50. Family and individual memberships to the Museum of North Idaho and honorary membership to the HPC are also being awarded. The HPC is seeking support from businesses popular with middle and high school students to provide additional prizes for this year’s contest.

“The HPC is extremely pleased that both participation in the contest and winning essays the past three years have transcended the public, private and homeschool sectors,” stated Robert Singletary, HPC chairman and recorder on the contest’s judging panel. “The winning essays have really been excellent, reflecting the hard work individual students put into researching the topic, organizing the information they gather and applying good writing skills to create their essay.”

Singletary and his HPC colleagues are hoping for greater participation from public school students this year after a significant drop in the number of entries received last year.

“We really need public school sector parents, teachers, principals, school board members and parent-teacher associations/organizations to get behind the contest. They need to actively encourage students to participate if we’re to sustain the success the contest has had in increasing awareness of Kootenai County’s rich history and heritage,” Singletary said.

For information or to arrange a presentation about the contest, contact HPC vice-chairman and essay contest coordinator Skip Fuller at diski@live.com.

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