Bodi Simon, David Bolin Take Home Cash Prizes in Historical Essay Contest

Emmet County Commissioner and Historical Commission member Mike Wargel presented cash awards Tuesday to historical contest runner-up David Bolin and winner Bodi Simon (front row, left to right). Joining them were (back row, left to right) were Superintendent of Petoskey School District Chris Parker, Danielle Schopp and Brent Bolin (parents of David Bolin), Historical Commission member Tana Baldwin, Sheridan Elementary School Principal Mark Oberman, teacher Erin Sarke-Fate, Fred Harrington, and Simon’s family Nicole Stradling, Paul Simon and Kyle Simon. (Click on the photo to see larger version)

Sheridan Elementary School third graders Bodi Simon and David Bolin are likely thinking about things other than local history today after being presented with cash awards June 8 for their essays submitted in the Emmet County Historical Commission’s student historical essay contest.

Bodi Simon won $100 as the first place winner in the contest. His essay titled “Native Americans” really impressed the judges, especially since he based his essay on what he learned by interviewing Fred Harrington, who currently serves on the Tribal Council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Simon’s essay clearly showed he gained quite a bit of knowledge from his conversation with Harrington about the history of the Odawa tribe in Emmet County.

David Bolin’s essay titled “The History of Little Traverse Bay” earned him $50 as runner-up in the contest. Bolin’s essay pleasantly encouraged the reader to come along on a “learning adventure” with him as he explored how the bay was created as well as Petoskey stones.

The teacher of the student with the winning essay also receives a $50 prize. Erin Sarki-Fate earned the prize this year as the teacher of Simon and Bolin. Not only was she thrilled for her two students, but Petoskey Schools Superintendent Chris Parker and Sheridan Elementary School Principal Mark Oberman were on hand for the award presentation, both beaming with pride for their winning students and teacher.

County Commissioner and Historical Commission member Mike Wargel presented the boys with their award at the school on Tuesday morning. Wargel was joined by fellow Historical Commission member Tana Baldwin, who was a judge in the contest along with three other commission members.

On hand to see Simon collect his award were family members Nicole Stradling, Paul Simon and Kyle Simon, as well as Harrington. Bolin was joined by his parents Danielle Schopp and Brent Bolin.

Historical Commission members were impressed by the participation in this year’s contest and the effort put into the essays by the students and teachers. The essay subjects were varied and each of the four judges made different choices on who should win first and second place.

The funds for the essay contest are donated by the Bob Schulze Fund for Creative Writing held at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. Schulze’s widow, Suzanne, served for many years on the Emmet County Historical Commission. Bob Schulze was instrumental in establishing funds that help encourage area youth to write essays and poetry.

The essay contest is held annually with information posted to the Emmet County website and Facebook page at the beginning of each year. All third and fourth grade students in Emmet County, including homeschooled children, are eligible to enter an essay in the contest. The contest was canceled in 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronovirus.

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