Commissioner George P. Bush Announces the Winners and Finalists of the 2022 Save Texas History Essay Contest

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PRESS RELEASE — Dec 16, 2022

AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is pleased to announce the winners and finalists of the 2022 Save Texas History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office’s Save Texas History Program. Fourth- and seventh-grade students from across Texas answered the question, “What history in your community is worth saving?”
"I am continuously inspired by the insight of these young Texans, having read their essays and seen their passion for Texas history”, said Commissioner Bush. “Whether it’s a small town’s rich traditions or a community bound by military service and appreciation, Myreen’s and Brenton’s essays are a reminder of what we love about our great state. Congratulations to them and this year’s finalists, and all who participated and shared their stories of Texas.”

The fourth-grade grand prize winner is Brenton Cloud, son of Tiffany and Cedric Cloud. Brenton is in Julie Kortenhoeven’s class at Broadway Elementary School in Spring. His essay, A Small Town in a Big City, shares his love of the town of Spring and the many festivals and events it hosts, such as the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival and PetFest. He especially likes to “see the old buildings and imagine what the railroad workers were thinking when they settled in this area and what life was life back then.”


The seventh-grade grand prize winner is Myreen Mamun, daughter of Anne and Abdullah Mamun. Myreen is in Victoria Brewer’s class at Salyards Middle School in Cypress. Myreen’s essay, Battleship USS Texas: A Gift of Defense, highlights the importance of the ship known as the “Mighty T” in both World Wars, including its role in D-Day. As Myreen points out, USS Texas “is priceless to us and deserves to be continuously preserved for generations to come.”


The grand prize winners will each receive a $500 gift card courtesy of Chris Cantu of Edward Jones Investments. The ten finalists will each receive a $100 gift card courtesy of the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) – Moses Austin Chapter and Buck Cole. In addition, the SRT, Texas State Historical Association, and Texas General Land Office will provide an assortment of contest prizes to all the winning students and their teachers.

Fourth Grade Finalists:
Sacha Bennett
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Katherine Stewart, Temple, TX
Teacher: Katherine Stewart
Essay Topic: History of Temple

Josiah Briseno
Glasscock County ISD
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Marlena and Ismael Briseno, Big Spring, TX
Teacher: Kelly Hall
Essay Topic: Comanche Trail Park

Hadly Dieringer
Glasscock County ISD
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Derek Dieringer, Garden City, TX
Teacher: Kelly Hall
Essay Topic: St. Lawrence Fall Festival

Sutton Ondrovik
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Whitney and Kerry Ondrovik, Leakey, TX
Teachers: Whitney and Kerry Ondrovik
Essay Topic: Real County History Museum

Presley Steffan
RJ Richey Elementary School
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Sara and Jason Steffan, Burnet, TX
Teachers: Shaylah Cunningham and Cindi Evans
Essay Topic: Wallace Riddell Monument

Seventh Grade Finalists:
Isabella Ames
Pettus Secondary School
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Ferran and David Ames, Tuleta, TX
Teacher: Sarah Eldridge
Essay Topic: History of Pettus

Isabel Cuellar
Brooks Collegiate Academy
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Adrienne Davis and Paulino Cuellar, San Antonio, TX
Teacher: Joshua Freeman
Essay Topic: Majestic Theater

Evelyn Lopez
Wilson Junior High School
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Lucia and Juan Lopez, Dayton, TX
Teacher: Carrie Yarbrough
Essay Topic: Rice Growing in Dayton

Saamiya Merali
Kelly Lane Middle School
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Salika and Taha, Pflugerville, TX
Teacher: Renee Oricchio
Essay Topic: Lady Bird Lake

Clay Thompson
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Wendy and Dylan Thompson, Burnet, TX
Teacher: Wendy Thompson
Essay Topic: 1884 Historic Jail

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 were judged on originality of idea, cohesiveness of thought and organization. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation were also taken into account.
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.
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

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