2017 Historical Essay Contest winners announced!

Left to right: Melinda Spencely – Historical Commission Representative, Kathy Slack – Teacher, Emmett Sisson, Haden Janes, Miles Keys, and Toni Drier – Emmet County Commissioner

The winners of the 2017 annual Historical Essay Contest, presented by the Emmet County Historical Commission, have been announced, and all three winners are students of Kathy Slack with the Petoskey Elementary Schools.

First place was awarded to Haden Janes, fourth-grade, for his essay, “Mackinac Bridge History.” His essay includes a detail-filled account of the building of the Mighty Mac as well as a recount of important dates in the history of the bridge. Haden won $100 for his first-place essay. Janes stated “I was so surprised to have won this award considering how many students there are in Emmet County! I love to write, and I love history. If I don’t become a sports athlete, I want to become an author of historical fiction when I grow up.”

Second place was awarded to fourth-grader Emmett Sisson. His essay, “The History of the Petoskey Stone,” was inspired by his time with his family searching for these special fossils. Emmet’s essay gave a scientific background of the Michigan State Stone. Emmet won $50 for his second-place essay.

Honorable mention awarded to Miles Keys. Miles wrote “The History of the Perry Hotel.” In his essay, Miles walks readers through the milestones of the iconic downtown Petoskey hotel.

The students’ teacher, Kathy Slack, received a $50 stipend to help with classroom supplies and projects.

The awards for the essay contest are made 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.”

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

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