Two Rapid Valley Elementary School fourth graders win state essay contest
RAPID CITY, S.D. – South Dakota is rich in history and across the state’s vast expanse of natural beauty there are many stories to be told from caves, ghost towns and western legends, early pioneers to sacred Native American sites, they all come together to tell the larger story about the state and the people who live here.
May is Archaeology and Historic Preservation month in South Dakota. The State Historical Society held a statewide essay contest in honor of the event, entitled ‘This Place Matters’. They asked fourth-grade students who are currently studying South Dakota history in their curriculums to write a 100-400 word essay on any South Dakota location 50 years or older and share why it’s one of their favorite places.
“South Dakota’s cultural heritage is rich and diverse as represented by thousands of archaeological and historical sites, historic buildings, and landscapes that have been identified and recorded throughout the state,” said Ted M. Spencer, South Dakota State Historic Preservation Officer. “Public appreciation and understanding are the foundation of preserving South Dakota’s past for future generations.”
Out of 118 entries two Rapid Valley Elementary School, students placed first and second in the contest.
Jack Hern won the first-place prize of $100 for his essay ‘Spokane Mine and Ghost Town’. He said that he frequently explores Black Hills ghost towns with his dad and has been to Spokane, located near Custer State Park, twice.
“I included that a miner died from an argument there and they have a tombstone there and then that there’s glass, metal and other stuff that’s a hundred years old,” said Hern.
He is saving his winnings, “for stuff that I need in the future.”
Liv Knopp, who is in the same class with Hern, won second place and $75 for her essay.
“I wrote about the Rapid City Public Library in downtown and I talked about how many books there are, of how beautiful the place is and all of the things that, that why you should go into the library.”
Knopp loves writing fictional stories about animals on her typewriter. She plans to save part of her winning and donate some of it to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Because kids out there deserve the help that they need when they have cancer,” she said.
Both students also received a one-year family membership to the State Historical Society.
Entries were judged on quality of writing, content, theme and originality of thought.
You can read the award winning essays here.