Essay Contest

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the fourth and seventh grade winners of the 2020 Save Texas History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office’s Save Texas History Program. The essay contest encourages students to answer the question, “What history in your community is worth saving?”

“As a former history teacher, I am proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 annual Save Texas History Essay Contest: fourth grader Keltyn Arnold and seventh grader Madeline Moran,” said Commissioner Bush. "It is especially rewarding to see students learn more about our state's rich history through their participation in the Save Texas History Essay Contest. Thank you to all the young Texans who submitted their essays as well as the parents and teachers who encouraged their participation. The submissions were impressive and full of inspiring examples of how future generations of Texans can appreciate the rich history in their local communities and around the state. Congratulations to our winners and to all those who participated.” 

The fourth-grade grand prize winner is Keltyn Arnold, daughter of Allyson Arnold.

Keltyn Arnold
Keltyn Arnold

Keltyn is in Ms. Melissa Kirby’s class at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler. Her essay, Chandler’s Historical Landmark, draws attention to the important role the Chandler Museum

and Visitor Center plays in Chandler, “the city with a heart.” As Keltyn notes, this former childhood home of United States Senator Ralph Yarborough not only displays historical information and artifacts about her community. Its heritage garden and seasonal events also provide a “source of pride” and connection to her hometown.

The seventh-grade grand prize winner is Madeline Moran, daughter of Ben Moran.

Madeline Moran
Madeline Moran

Madeline is in Mr. Norris White’s class at UT Tyler University Academy in Palestine, Texas. Madeline’s essay, Magical Downtown Palestine, highlights Palestine’s historic town center. Special attention is given to its buildings, including the courthouse, old jailhouse, and the Texas Theatre. As Madeline points out, however, it is the area’s public art and annual activities like the Grand Tree Lighting and Christmas parade that make Palestine feel “even more magical, like a cozy small town.”

Each grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card courtesy of Mr. Chris Cantu of Edward Jones Investments. The four finalists in each grade will receive $100 gift cards courtesy of the Sons of the Republic of Texas (Moses Austin Chapter) and Mr. Buck Cole. In addition, all winners and finalists will receive: a Texas flag that has flown over the northernmost point of the Republic of Texas (in present-day Wyoming) and the state capitol; a Save Texas History backpack; a reproduction of a historic map from the GLO Archives map collection; a Certificate of Achievement signed by Commissioner Bush; and other items from the GLO online store.

Fourth Grade Finalists:

  • Maclayne Copfer
    All Saints Episcopal School
    Parent/Guardian: Casey Copfer, Tyler, TX
    Teacher: Ms. Lemons
    Topic: Rose Festival in Tyler
  • Isla de la Garza
    Windsor Park
    Parent/Guardian: Erika de la Garza, Corpus Christi, TX
    Teacher: Ms. Barbara Shurte
    Topic: Corpus Christi’s Heritage Park
  • Leo Hansen
    Field Elementary
    Parent/Guardian: Kate Hansen, Houston, TX
    Teacher: Ms. Sammi Sicinski
    Topic: Heights Neighborhood Library in Houston
  • Anna Porter
    St. Matthew Catholic School
    Parent/Guardian: Nathan Porter, San Antonio, TX
    Teacher: Mr. Gerard Boehme
    Topic: San Antonio’s Richard Beene Site

Seventh Grade Finalists:

  • Callie Clark
    China Spring Middle School
    Parent/Guardian: Lynzee Clark, Waco, TX
    Teacher: Ms. Tricia Hepler
    Topic: Westfest and Czech heritage
  • Stone Jessup
    Lincoln Middle School
    Parent/Guardian: Kendal Jessup, El Paso, TX
    Teacher: Ms. Maggie Ensley
    Topic: El Paso High School and R.R. Jones Football Stadium
  • Mia Mendez
    Del Rio Middle School
    Parent/Guardian: April Mendez, Del Rio, TX
    Teacher: Mr. Manuel Galindo
    Topic: La Casa de la Cultura in Del Rio
  • Skylar Moore
    Hyde Park Schools
    Parent/Guardian: Susan Moore, Austin, TX
    Teacher: Ms. Caitlin Kindred
    Topic: The connection between Johnson Space Center and Kazakhstan

All public, private and home-schooled students of appropriate age for the fourth grade or seventh grade were eligible to participate. Essays for the annual contest are judged on originality of idea, cohesiveness of thought and organization. Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation also counted.

The Texas General Land Office Save Texas History™ program is a statewide initiative to rally public support and private funding for the preservation and promotion of more than 35 million historic maps and documents. With the twin goals of preservation and education, the Save Texas History program seeks to conserve these documents for future generations and educate Texans about the rich heritage found in these vital records.

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