Winners Announced For This Place Matters Essay Contest

Apr 21, 2010

BARTLESVILLE, OK – Bartlesville-area students were asked in February to consider some of the historic places in their community and the importance of preserving them.  The This Place Matters essay contest featured the Frank Phillips Home, Price Tower and Woolaroc as topics for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students to write about in their essays.

The contest wrapped up on April 5th with 69 essays being submitted from seven schools and three home schools.  There were 17 different teachers who had students taking part in the essay contest.  Some teachers chose to include This Place Matters as a class project.

Prizes were awarded to first, second, and third place winners for each of the historic sites.  First place winners received a U.S. Savings Bond for $1000.  Second place winners were awarded $500 U.S. Savings Bonds.  And, those who placed third were given U.S. Savings Bonds valued at $250.  All the winners were also given medals and certificates of recognition were given to all students who participated in the essay contest.

“I was pleased with the high level of participation and the quality of the essays.  The depth of the feelings that so many of the writers conveyed in their essays was overwhelming.   It is quite clear as I have read the essays, that the goal of hoping we could get these young people to pause and think about why ‘This Place Matters’ has been achieved.  To me, the benefits go far beyond a good essay or the winner’s receiving a cash prize, the real victory is that these children now have the opportunity and their eyes have been opened to the responsibility of protecting these great assets that surround us.  That is the real prize for all of us,” said Woolaroc Executive Direct Bob Fraser.

The winning essays for the Frank Phillips Home were written by Hannah Grietzmaker of Wesleyan Christian School; Chloe Maye, a 4th grader at Ranch Heights Elementary and Ashton Cowart, a 4th grader at Ranch Heights Elementary.

Winning essays about the Price Tower were written by Lukas Cochran, a 4th grader at Ranch Heights Elementary; Allison Biddinger, a 4th grader at Ranch Heights Elementary and Greta Olsen, a 4th grader at Hoover Elementary.

The first place winner in the Woolaroc category was Nathan Sloan, a 4th grader from Dewey Elementary.  The second place winner was Amrose Davis, a 3rd grader from Wesleyan Christian School.  The third place winner was Stanton Weaver, a 4th grade home school student.

The contest also recognized the efforts of two 3rd grade writers.  Naudia Whitlock and Taylere Fidler of Wilson Elementary received the Rising Star Awards.

“I was very pleased to see the excitement the young students expressed toward the essay contest. As I visited with students about the contest, they asked very intelligent questions about preservation of historic sites.  From the essays the students wrote, it is evident they understand and appreciate the historic sites of Bartlesville. I am confident they will help with their preservation as they grow to adulthood,” said Frank Phillips Home Executive Director Jim Goss.

In addition to recognizing the work of students, This Place Matters also recognized an outstanding teacher.  Laura Salzyn, a 4th grade teacher at Ranch Heights, was honored for having four students as finalists in the contest.

Frank Phillips Home, Price Tower Arts Center and Woolaroc worked in collaboration with Bartlesville Public Schools, the Bartlesville History Museum and the Bartlesville Public Library to reach students. 

This Place Matters was made possible through the support of a number of sponsors including Arvest Bank, the Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise, the Daybreak Rotary Foundation, the Bartlesville Noon Rotary Club, the Frank Phillips Club, Bank of Oklahoma and Career Employment Service, Wal-Mart Supercenter of Bartlesville.  Additional support has been provided by the Bartlesville Convention & Visitors Bureau, McDonald’s, Sonic, Chili’s and the Tulsa Drillers.

The judges for the contest included the provost of Rogers State University’s Bartlesville campus Bill R. Beierschmitt, former Wilson Elementary principal Bill Brewer, retired Bartlesville School Board member Charlie Daniels, former Washington County District Judge Jan Dreiling, Frank Phillips Club president Dan Hunt, Bartlesville History Museum education coordinator Kay Little, Price Tower Arts Center curator Scott Perkins, Representative Earl Sears, Bartlesville Public Library director Joan Singleton and Dr. Gopi Vasudevan.  The program’s curriculum advisor was Wilson Elementary principal Sandra Kent.

“This contest would not have been possible without the support of many staff members and Price Tower Arts Center volunteers.  Three of our docents, Nan Morrison, Mary Anderson and Cheryl Buckles, spent hours making sure information was provided to the schools and that the essays were returned in time for judging,” said Price Tower Arts Center Executive Director Tim Boruff.

The keynote address at the awards ceremony was delivered by Bob Blackburn, the executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.


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