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[r29] Column: What does Indiana mean to you?
Start Date: 9/11/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 9/11/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
What does Indiana mean to you?

This year, Indiana will turn 197 years old, only three years out from its bicentennial. Admitted into the union as the nineteenth state on Dec. 11, 1816, Indiana has a rich cultural history. For many of us, I am sure that our last state history lesson was in grade school, but understanding where we have been as a people, as a state and as a country is critical to knowing where we are going.

Indiana has been home to several notable events throughout the years: the Battle of Tippecanoe and later the War of 1812; Hoosier-native William Harrison being elected as the ninth U.S. president; Indiana’s support of the Union (first western state to do so) during the Civil War; the first long-distance automobile race in the U.S. was held in Indianapolis in 1911; our state boasts more miles of interstate highway per square mile than any other state, establishing the motto “Crossroads of America”; and, more recently, hosting the Super Bowl. 

Fourth grade students will be learning about all of these events and much more this year as state history is discussed in classrooms. To complement their learning, the Indiana Statehouse Tour office, Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum and the Indiana State Library are once again hosting the Fourth Grade Student Essay Competition.

This is a great opportunity for young Hoosiers to tell us what Indiana means to them with this year’s topic being Hoosier Bicentennial Heroes. Winners of the essay contest will be honored at the Statehood Day Celebrations on Wednesday, December 11. 

This is what you need to know if your student(s) would like to participate:
  • The competition is open to any Indiana fourth grade public, private or homeschooled student.
  • Essays must range from 100 to 300 words and can be handwritten or typed.
  • Student’s name, teacher’s name, school’s name, address, telephone number and a valid email address for the teacher or individual must be included with the entry.
  • Essays should be reflective of the Hoosier Bicentennial Heroes theme.
  • Essays must be postmarked by Friday, October 25. Electronic submissions will not be accepted. Essays should be mailed to:
    Indiana Center for the Book
    Suzanne Walker
    140 N. Senate Ave.
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
  • First, second, third and fourth place winners will be decided by a panel of judges. 
Winners and their classes will be invited to one of the four participating locations (Indiana Statehouse, Indiana State Museum, Indiana State Library or the Indiana Historical Society) on December 11 where each of the winners will read their essays. 

All four locations will be participating in the formal Statehood Day program, which includes guest speakers from Indiana state government in addition to the reading of a winning Statehood Day Essay. The festivities are always a blast with the winning essays being a real treat for everyone who attends. For more information on the essay contest, please visit: www.in.gov/library/statehood.htm.

The old adage “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been” is a good way of reminding us that the past has so much to teach us. I encourage everyone to spread the word about this contest as our community has always been well-represented in this contest in the past. And, who knows, maybe we’ll all learn a little something about Indiana’s history along the way.

-30-

My column also appears in the Times of Noblesville.
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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