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Historical commission holding essay, art contests

by | Mar 16, 2023 | Education, Latest

A relatively new essay and art competition returns for its third year, inviting local students to submit their best essays or artwork in their summer and fall competitions.

The essay contest will accept submissions by email through July 17, while the deadline for art entries is Oct. 22. All students who reside in Collin County from kindergarten to 12th grade are eligible to enter, she added, including students who are homeschooled. 

The summer essay contest follows the spring contest, which welcomed photo submissions from both local adults and students in the county. The essay prompt this year is, “what was life like as a Collin County student in the past compared to today.”

This fall, students will turn in their best artwork depicting a Collin County cemetery. Submissions for both the essay and art contests will be judged with winners chosen from elementary, middle school and high school grades.

The contest originated in 2021 as a way for students affected by the pandemic to engage with their local community’s history, according to competition coordinator Brittany Yurkovitch. It also allows students with a variety of talents or interests to enter, she added.

“We wanted to provide lots of ways for students to show what they know besides the essay contest, hence why we have a spring photo contest and a fall art competition,” Yurkovitch said.

This year, the competitions continue to engage students by offering them the chance to interact with several of the local history museums in Collin County.

“Collin County is growing rapidly and it is important for the youth to get a sense of the place they call home,” Yurkovitch said. “Our competitions encourage young people to get to know their local museums and other historical places throughout the county.”

The contest also gives students a way to interact with modern historians in the area who are working on digitizing local history.

“Collin County historians have made a considerable effort to digitize local history research so that anyone with an internet connection can access information about their community in the past,” Yurkovitch said. “Students spend a large portion of time online, and we wanted to provide opportunities for them to engage with local history, even if it isn’t possible for them to visit their local museum or historic cemetery.”

For the essay contests, students must write an essay of at least 500 words that is double-spaced and uses proper grammar and spelling. As a supporting resource, students should use Joy Gough’s book titled “History of Early Schools in Collin County, 1846-1960,” or collincountyhistory.com, Yurkovitch said. 

Students may also conduct additional research, citing evidence in support of their essay’s thesis. 

When submitting, the student’s name, age, school, grade and a parental contact should be included.

If a student elects to participate in the fall art competition, Yurkovitch recommended using “Cemeteries of Collin County, Texas” by Joy Gough or collincountyhistory.com as a resource. Art can be made using any medium, but submissions will have to be scanned or photographed. Multiple photos are acceptable for art that is three-dimensional.

In addition to the entry, students are required to write a paragraph describing their work, denote the medium used and the art’s title. They must also include their name, age, school and the work’s dimensions.

Once winners are chosen, they will be awarded prizes including gifts related to a local museum and Collin County gear. In some cases, there have also been exhibitions and recognition at a Collin County Historical Society meeting.

“In the case of our spring photo competition, the photos are displayed throughout the county as a traveling exhibit,” Yurkovitch said.

To submit work, email [email protected] or collincountytx.gov/public_information/features for more information about the contests.

Student Samantha Evans placed first in the 2022 Collin County Historical Commission contest. This year’s deadline is March 19 for the spring art contest. For those who need more time, the deadline for the summer essay contest is July 17. Courtesy photo

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