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Watch Commissioner George P. Bush and K-12 Outreach Coordinator Buck Cole teach a Texas history class on “Pioneering Principles: Why Character Matters,” then announce the fourth- and seventh- grade the winners of Save Texas History’s 2015 Texas Travels Essay Contest, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office’s Save Texas History Program.  

Commissioner Bush Announces Winners of the Save Texas History Texas Travels Essay Contest

Grand prize winners from 4th and 7th grade participants

AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush today announced the fourth- and seventh- grade the winners of Save Texas History’s 2015 Texas Travels Essay Contest, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office’s Save Texas History Program.  The Texas Travels Essay Contest encourages students to read and write about cities, towns, and distinct geographic locales that are significant to the development of this state, as well as the brave individuals who pioneered vast and uncharted areas of Texas.

“As a former history teacher it’s especially rewarding to encourage students to learn more about our state's rich history by participating in the annual Texas Travels Essay Contest,” Bush said. “This contest introduces students to the heroes who founded our great state. I want to thank all students who submitted essays as well as the teachers who encouraged them to participate. The submissions were thoughtful and creative examples of how future generations of Texans appreciate learning about those who came before them. Congratulations to everyone who won and to all who participated.”

The fourth- grade grand prize winner is Heaven Miles, daughter of Cody and Kentara Ridge. Heaven is in Ms. Byrd's class at Snyder Elementary in Snyder, Texas. The seventh- grade grand prize winner is Sofia Odom, daughter of Andre and Lupita Odom.  Sophia is in Ms. Clarson's class at Fulmore Middle School in Austin.

The winning submissions — selected from about 1,500 entries — earn these two accomplished essayists round-trip airline tickets for four to San Antonio from any Southwest Airlines destination in Texas, hotel accommodations for two nights and complimentary tickets to attractions provided by the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Alamo. The 10 finalists in each grade level won Save Texas History backpacks, certificates of appreciation and a historic map reproduction from the Land Office map collection. The names of all finalists appear on the Save Texas History website at

The fourth- grade runners up are:

  • Laura Stoleru, Rock Prairie Elementary in College Station

Teacher:  Ms. O’Neill
Parent: Valeria Stoleru

  • Brooklynn Clapp, Brock Elementary in Weatherford

Teacher: Mrs. Hoster
Parent:  Sandy Clapp

  • Vincent Tsai, Carroll Elementary in Frisco

Teacher: Mrs. Stokes
Parent: Daniel Tsai

  • Jhett Jones, Brock Elementary in Lipan

Teacher: Mrs. Walker
Parents:  Tom and Gale Jones

  • Olivia Coker, Kay Granger Elementary in Fort Worth

Teacher:  Mrs. Davis
Parents: Tammy and Stan Coker

  • Madison Pariseau, Wilderness Oak Elementary in San Antonio

Teacher: Mrs. Whitehead
Parent: Linda or Bryan Pariseau

  • Stephanie Cao, Mary Burks Marek Elementary in Pearland

Teacher: Mrs. Wiedermann
Parent: Vivianne Cao

  • Diyaa Shah, Armstrong Elementary in Dallas

Teacher: Ashraf Mobh
Parent:  Kejal Shah

  • Sarah Khalife, The Galloway School in Friendswood

Teacher: Mrs. Smith
Parent: Manal Khalife

  • Conor Comiskey, Timber Creek Elementary in Tomball

Teacher: Mrs. French
Parent: Larisa Comiskey and Jonathan Comiskey

The seventh- grade runners up are:

  • Puneetha Goli, T.H. Rogers Middle School in Houston

                Teacher: Randy Takaoka
Parents: Kalpana Goli and Satish Goli

  • Griffin White, Palacios Junior High School in Palacios

Teacher: Ms. Richter
Parents: Bob and Melissa White

  • Bryce Corriston, Trinity Klein Lutheran School in Spring

                Teacher: Mr. Holman
Parents: Sherry Corriston

  • Elizabeth Venier, Trinity Klein Lutheran School in Spring

Teacher: Mr. Holman
Parent: Alice Venier

  • Delicia Campos, Flores Middle School in Uvalde

Teacher: Mr. Matthews
Parent: Delores Campos

  • Henry Chapin, Fulmore Middle School in Austin

Teacher: Ms. Clarson
Parent: Elizabeth Chapin

  • Mariah Duron, Fulmore Middle School in Austin

Teacher: Ms. Clarson
Parent: Linda Aleman

  • Jake Day, Turkey-Quitaque CISD in Turkey

Teacher: Mr. Proctor
Parents: Rick and Susan Day

  • Jacey Vykukal, Caldwell Middle School in Caldwell

Teacher: Mrs. Poole
Parent: Lana Vykukal

  • Jessica Gore, Fulmore Middle School in Austin

Teacher: Jessica Gore
Parent: Tricia Gore

All public, private and home-schooled students of appropriate age for the fourth grade or seventh grade were eligible to participate. Essays for the annual contest are judged on originality of idea, cohesiveness of thought and organization. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation counted.

The Texas General Land Office Save Texas History™ program is a statewide initiative to rally public support and private funding for the preservation and promotion of more than 35 million historic maps and documents. With the twin goals of preservation and education, the Save Texas History program seeks to conserve these documents for future generations and educate Texans about the rich heritage found in these vital records. For more details, visit

You can follow Save Texas History at and Twitter at Follow the Texas General Land Office on Facebook at, or Twitter at, or YouTube at