Historical Commission Awards
2018 Essay Contest Winners

Winning Topics: The Snowshoe Priest,
1971 B-52 Crash and the Emmet County Fair

Left to right: Melinda Spencely, Historical Commission Representative; Toni Drier, Emmet County Commissioner; Jack Robinson; and John Calabrese, Emmet County Administrator

The Emmet County Historical Commission presented this year’s essay contest winners with their awards. The first place winner is Jack Robinson of Petoskey. He received the $100 award for first place and, since he is home-schooled, his mother accepted the $50 incentive award for homeschooling supplies.

Highlander J. Sweet-Jenema of Shay Elementary school in Harbor Springs placed second and received the $50 award. Ida Dwan, also of Petoskey, received the Honorable Mention certificate. She is home-schooled.

In addition, the remaining 57 students who submitted an essay received a certificate of participation underwritten by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Jack’s essay was about Bishop Baraga’s first experience with snowshoes, and how he helped the local Odawa cultivate the land so they would not starve over the winter. “I wanted to write about Bishop Baraga because he treated the Indians like equals when nobody else did,” he said.

The topic of Highlander’s essay was his uncle’s eyewitness recounting of the 1971 B-52 crash into Little Traverse Bay. His uncle was a high school junior when the plane crashed.

Ida’s essay provided a historical synopsis of the Emmet County Fair, and her and her family’s experiences there.

The Emmet County Historical Commission strives to foster knowledge and familiarity of Emmet County history as a way for students to gain an appreciation of our community’s foundation.
The awards for the essay contest are possible with a grant from the Bob Schulze Fund for Creative Writing at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. Schulze’s widow, Suzanne, served for many years on the Emmet County Historical Commission. After Bob’s passing, his family established a fund in his memory to encourage area youth to write essays and poetry.

“The judges for this contest truly enjoy reading the students’ submissions, it’s always a pleasure for us,” said Melinda Spencley, who organizes the contest on behalf of the Historical Commission. “These students work very hard and tell us they enjoy learning more about the history of their hometowns and Emmet County through this project.”

Held annually, the contest is open to all third- and fourth-grade students in Emmet County, including home-schooled children. 

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About the Historical Commission

The Emmet County Historical Commission was established in 2008 by the Board of Commissioners at the time the county purchased the historic McGulpin Point Lighthouse, just west of downtown Mackinaw City.

The Commission is responsible for the development and maintenance of the lighthouse, which is now open to the public, as well as other historical resources within Emmet County. The Commission has focused its efforts as well on education about Emmet County’s rich history. This History Contest is one aspect of that effort.

Emmet County, Michigan
200 Division Street, Petoskey MI 49770
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