"The essays written by these students
carry messages of hope, freedom and equality," Mrs. Blagojevich
said. "Their empowering words inspire us all to remember the
greatness of the country in which we live and remind us of how the
words and views of one person alone can affect a nation. I cannot
think of a better way to recognize these students than have them
share in the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and
Museum, a place dedicated to the man whose inspiring words helped
shape the nation we live in today."
The 10 students were the winners among
5,400 entries submitted from all 50 states and the District of
Columbia for "Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address: An Essay Contest
for Middle and High School Students." The contest challenged the
students to craft their own thoughts about a "new birth of freedom"
in an essay not exceeding 272 words, the length of President
Lincoln's Nov. 19, 1863, Gettysburg Address. This is the largest
number of entries ever submitted for a C-SPAN essay contest.
The grand prize winner is Mihan Lee,
an 11th-grade student at Georgetown Day School in Potomac, Md. She
will read her essay, entitled "A New Country, A New Century, A New
Freedom," during the dedication ceremony Tuesday for the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Museum. Mihan will receive $1,500 in cash,
while the nine first-prize winners will each receive $750 in cash.
first-prize winners are:
- Mary Bax, 12th grade, Parkway
West Senior High, Ballwin, Mo.; "The Journey Home"
- Brett Brown, 11th grade, Kapaun
Mount Carmel, Wichita, Kan.; "America and Freedom"
- Lauren Cairco, 12th grade, Fort
Mill High School, Fort Mill, S.C.; "A New Birth of Freedom"
- Julia Ishiyama, eighth grade,
Castilleja School, Palo Alto, Calif.; "A Message of Unity"
- Karolina Kalbarczyk, eighth
grade, University Laboratory High School, Urbana; "A New Birth of
- William Marks, eighth grade, Pine
Crest Preparatory School, Hollywood, Fla.; "The Wireless Address"
- Joshua Pohl, seventh grade, Pohl
Academy of Learning Home School, San Antonio, Texas; "A New Birth
- Michael Prince, 11th grade,
Carlton J. Kell High School, Marietta, Ga.;"A New Birth of
- Courtney Williams, eighth grade,
Heritage Christian School, Indianapolis, Ind.; "A New Birth of
[to top of second column in this article]
winners, each accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, will
receive a private tour and attend the dedication of the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library as part of an
all-expenses-paid five-day Looking for Lincoln tour of central
Illinois. The journey will take the students to numerous locations
with ties to Abraham Lincoln. The itinerary includes:
- April 15: Lincoln's New Salem
State Historic Site, Petersburg; David Davis Mansion State
Historic Site, Bloomington; Under the Prairie Archaeological
Museum, Athens; Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site,
Mount Pulaski; Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield.
- April 16: Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Museum, Charleston; Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site,
Charleston vicinity; Rock Springs Center, Decatur.
- April 17: Luncheon at executive
mansion with first lady Patti Blagojevich and visits to the Old
State Capitol, Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Great Western Depot
and Lincoln Tomb historic sites, all in Springfield.
- April 18: A special breakfast
hosted by C-SPAN, a private tour of the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Museum and official welcome by Gov. Blagojevich.
- April 19: The dedication ceremony
for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
The opening of the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Museum features four days of activities April 16-19.
The current schedule of events includes a 5K race, a two-day Looking
for Lincoln block party, a two-day scholarly conference featuring
some of the world's top Lincoln experts, a re-creation of Lincoln's
Farewell Address and an 1800s political torchlight parade, an
outdoor concert complete with fireworks and a laser show, a Lincoln
Bicentennial Commission breakfast, a re-created White House state
dinner fundraiser, and the public dedication ceremony at 11 a.m.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Museum brings Lincoln's story to life like never before with
exhibits and shows that immerse visitors in his life and times,
making them fellow passengers in his journey from log cabin to the
White House. It is the largest presidential museum in the country
and offers for the first time a chance to display Illinois' 47,000
original Lincoln artifacts. The adjacent Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library, which opened in October 2004, is the world's
foremost research facility about all aspects of Illinois history.
[News release from the governor's