Commissioner Bush announces winners of the Save Texas History Essay Contest

Winners from Alvin, Austin, Corsicana, Cypress, El Paso, Houston, Keller, Needville, Plano, Pottsboro, San Antonio, Stockdale and Wimberley

Contact: Brittany Eck
(512) 463-5708
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PRESS RELEASE — Dec 01, 2016

AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush today announced the fourth- and seventh- grade winners of the 2016 Save Texas History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office's Save Texas History Program.  The Essay Contest encourages students to answer the question, "What history in your community, or in Texas, is worth saving?"  

Students across Texas won in the the 2016 Save Texas History Essay Contest

"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 Save Texas History Essay Contest," said Commissioner Bush. "I want to thank all students who submitted essays as well as the teachers and parents who encouraged them to participate. The submissions were thoughtful and creative examples of how future generations of Texans appreciate the rich history in their local communities and around the state, and what these students would do to save Texas history. Congratulations to everyone who won and to all who participated."

The fourth- grade grand prize winner is Shawnee Pool, daughter of Tammie Pool. Shawnee is in Ms. Lawrence's class at Pottsboro Elementary in Pottsboro. Shawnee explained how the Twin Sisters Dance Hall in Blanco was important to save because of its value as an historic community and cultural center since 1870.

The seventh- grade grand prize winner is Abby House, daughter of Regina House. Abby is in Ms. Sandidge's class at Needville Junior High in Needville. Abby explained how the Imperial Sugar Building in Sugarland was important to save because of its agricultural and economic impact on the region and its value as the prime producer of refined sugar for the state.

The winning submissions earn these two accomplished essayists a complimentary three-day car rental from National Car Rental, as well as several prizes from the San Antonio Tourism Council, including a three-day (two-night stay) in San Antonio, tickets to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Natural Bridge Caverns, the San Antonio Zoo, and other area attractions. The 10 finalists in each grade level won Save Texas History backpacks, certificates of appreciation signed by Land Commissioner George P. Bush, 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:

Sophia Curiel - El Paso
Reyes Elementary
Teacher: Ms. Guerrero
Parents: Rogelio and Carmen Curiel
Topic: El Paso Street in downtown El Paso

Corbet Cowey - Stockdale
Stockdale Elementary
Teacher: Venicia Monita
Parents: Corbet and Brenda Cowey
Topic: The Clock Tower at Fort Sam Houston

Brennan Rice - Pottsboro
Pottsboro Elementary
Parent: Sheila Rice
Topic: Lake Texoma

Britain Emerson - Austin
Boone Elementary
Teacher: Samantha Barrett
Parent: Charis Emerson
Topic: Zilker Park in Austin

Dorsey Warstler - Austin
Boone Elementary
Teacher: Evon Davis
Parents: Morgan and Sherina Warstler
Topic: Lady Bird Lake downtown Austin

Jaidyn Landry - Houston
Green Valley Elementary
Teacher: Kimberly Hancock
Parent: Grant Landry
Topic: Mission San Jose in San Antonio

Joyce Bennett - San Antonio
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School
San Antonio, TX  78216
Teacher: Laurine Heinsheimer
Parent: Juanita Rodriguez
Topic: Tower of the Americas in San Antonio

Ian Kelley - Austin
Boone Elementary
Teacher: Samantha Barrett
Parent: Christina Kelley
Topic: Enchanted Rock in Enchanted Rock State Park

Sofia Thapa - Corsicana
James L. Collins Catholic School
Teacher: Fred Lagomarsino
Topic: Temple Beth-El in Corsicana

Jonathan Ramirez - Houston
Green Valley Elementary
Teacher: Marion Brown
Parent: Annabelle Garcia
Topic: Spanish Missions in Texas

The 7th grade runners up are:

Addie Fusig - Alvin
Grace Ward Harby Junior High School
Teacher: Jerry Nelson
Parent: Sarah Fusig
Topic: The Astrodome in Houston

Damien Panton - Austin
Fulmore Middle School
Teacher: Carrie Schreiber
Parent: Kathy Panton
Topic: Fulmore Middle School Building

Kathryn Mendoza - Wimberley
Danforth Junior High School
Teacher: Tommy Bennett
Parents: Richard and Beth Mendoza
Topic: Houston's Old Sixth Ward

Victoria Ramos - El Paso
Ysleta Middle School
Teacher: Wendy Lee Carrasco Solorio
Parent: Alice Ramos
Topic: Ysleta Mission in El Paso

Emily Ray - Keller
Keller Middle School
Teacher: Heidi Cox
Parent: Doyle Ray
Topic: The Water Tower in Keller

John Reyna - Houston
South Houston Intermediate School
Houston, TX  77587
Teacher: Aimee Schultz
Parent: Blanca A. Reyna
Topic: The Astrodome in Houston

Devany Garza - Needville
Needville Junior High School
Teacher: Jana Sandidge
Parent: Yolanda Garza
Topic: Needville Water Tower

Caroline Wei - Cypress
Hamilton Middle School
Teacher: Teri Sarver
Parent: Hungwei Wei
Topics: The Onate Crossing and the Port Isabel Yacht Club

Sanjana Shangle - Plano
Pat and Catherine Fowler Middle School
Teacher: Margie Fitzgerald
Parent: Tarun Shangle
Topics: The Alamo and the Fort Worth Stockyards

Eveleigh Jenning - Wimberley
Danforth Junior High School
Teacher: Tommy Bennett
Parent: Andrea Brown
Topic: San Solomon Springs at Balmorhea State Park
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, with help from the UTeach Liberal Arts Program at the University of Texas-Austin.

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


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