4th and 7th graders reflect on their communities' unique history

Contact: Karina Erickson Press Secretary Texas General Land Office
(512) 475-5144
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PRESS RELEASE — Dec 11, 2020

AUSTIN — Today, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the fourth and seventh-grade winners of the 2020 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 is worth saving?”

"I am proud of Keltyn and Madeline for their dedication to preserve their respective hometown history by winning this year’s Save Texas History Essay Contest. Historical preservation starts in the early years of education and these two students are setting a remarkable example to their peers on why history is so important,” said Commissioner Bush. "I am honored to read these young students’ perspectives and share with the rest of Texas their great work. I commend all finalists and thank all who participated in the contest this year. Sharing my enthusiasm for our state’s history is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as Texas Land Commissioner.”

The fourth-grade grand prize winner is Keltyn Arnold of Chandler, Texas. Keltyn attends All Saints Episcopal School and is in Ms. Melissa Kirby's class. Keltyn's essay, Chandler's Historical Landmark, draws attention to the childhood home of former U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough. Located in Keltyn's hometown, the home now serves as The Chandler museum and visitor center and is filled with fascinating details about Yarborough's life. Read Keltyn's essay here

The seventh-grade grand prize winner is Madeline Moran of Palestine, TX. Madeline is in Ms. Norris White's class at UT Tyler University Academy at Palestine Campus. In Madeline's essay, Magical Downtown Palestine, she describes the unique history that took place in her town and the traditions that still continue to live on. Read Madeline’s essay here.

Each grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card courtesy of Chris Cantu of Edward Jones Investments. The four additional finalists in each grade will receive $100 gift cards courtesy of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and Buck Cole. All winners and finalists will receive complimentary items from the Sons of the Republic of Texas and the Texas General Land Office. For more information on the contest, please visit:

Fourth Grade Finalists:

Anna Porter
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Topic: Saving the Richard Beene Site

Isla de la Garza
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Topic: Saving Heritage Park

Leo Hansen
Hometown: Houston, TX
Topic: The Library of the Heights, Houston

Maclayne Copfer
Hometown: Tyler, TX
Topic: The Importance of the Rose Festival

Seventh Grade Finalists:

Callie Clark
Hometown: Waco, TX
Topic: Vítame Vás Ná to Westfest

Mia Mendez
Hometown: Del Rio, TX
Topic: La Casa de la Cultura

Skylar Moore
Hometown: Austin, TX
Topic: Johnson Space Center in Houston and Kazakhstan

Stone Jessup
Hometown: El Paso
Topic: Friday Night Lights and Horse Parades

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 also 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.

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

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