June 16, 2011

Kansas City 6th Grader Wins Dept. of Ag's Essay Contest

More than 650 students participated in the first-annual George Washington Carver Essay contest.

The results are in for the Missouri Department of Agriculture's first annual George Washington Carver Essay Contest for Missouri fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students. More than 650 essays were submitted under the 2011 theme, "If George Washington Carver were my teacher..."

"George Washington Carver's contributions to agriculture are a great example of the importance of education and the power of positive thinking," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "It was truly enjoyable to read the thoughtful and creative essays written by these young Missourians. I commend the students and their teachers for the hard work evident in the more than 650 submissions we received."

Of the hundreds of students who wrote essays on two of the cornerstones of agriculture - science and history, a sixth-grade student from Kansas City, Mo. will receive the top award during a ceremony at the Missouri State Fair in August.

Liz Mann, the daughter of Jeff and Lori Mann, wrote her essay in Mrs. Vanballas' class at New Mark Middle School in Kansas City. As the overall winner selected by the contest judges, Liz will receive a $200 savings bond and be recognized for her accomplishment during the Missouri State Fair in August.

The outstanding essays for each of the three grade levels will be recognized during the Missouri State Fair and the top essay for each grade level will receive a $100 savings bond. Those winners are as follows:

4th Grade Winners:
1st Place: Rose Coughlin, Reed Elementary, Mrs. Clark, Ladue, Mo.
2nd Place: Nathan Litfin, Immanuel Lutheran School, Mrs. Deb Leech, Jefferson City, Mo.
3rd Place: Jessica Stinson, Center Elementary, Mrs. Gatson, New London, Mo.

5th Grade Winners:
1st Place: Sydney Neas, Cole Camp Middle, Mrs. Jasper, Cole Camp, Mo.
2nd Place: Kaitlyn Woodhurst, Center Elementary, Mrs. Gatson, Perry, Mo.
3rd Place: Morgan Kiel, Combs Elementary, Ms. Coleman, Florissant, Mo.

6th Grade Winners:
1st Place: Sydney Johnson, Pitcher Academy, Mrs. Sterk, Kansas City, Mo.
2nd Place: Johnelle Landers, Smithville Middle School, Ms. Wilson, Smithville, Mo.
3rd Place: Kinyia Pelton, Pitcher Academy, Mrs. Sterk, Kansas City, Mo.
3rd Place: Mason Pratt, Bismarck Elementary, Mrs. Cole, Bismarck, Mo.

The first through third place winners for each grade level will receive free admission to the Missouri State Fair and recognition during the Fair. Essays will be displayed in the Agriculture Building throughout the Fair and all of the students will receive certificates for their participation in the contest.

George Washington Carver's story of starting life in slavery and becoming a prominent businessman and scholar is not only compelling, but also positions him as an outstanding role model. His accomplishments, from advocating for soil conversation to identifying 300 uses for peanuts, continue to influence the agriculture industry.

Contest judges included representatives from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, St. Louis Public Library, National George Washington Carver Museum in Tuskegee, Ala. and the George Washington Carver Monument in Diamond, Mo.

To view the winning essays, visit http://mda.mo.gov/gwc_contest.php.

Essays were judged on creativity, originality, correctness of George Washington Carver facts and idea development, as well as grammar, word choice and organization.

For more information about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit http://mda.mo.gov.