Uncovering the Past

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Essay Contest

The McHenry County Historical Society & Museum is hosting a historical research contest for McHenry County high school students (i.e. students entering grades 9-12, between the ages of 13-19). Students must research something related to McHenry County and its local history and write a 500- to 1,000-word essay and create a visual presentation.

Registration opens Sept. 15. We require a minimum of 10 participants to hold the contest and can accommodate up to 30 entries.

How to get involved:
• Fill out the registration form

• Research and compile information for both the writing and presentation portions

• Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3 set up your presentation at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum for the judges and public to view

• Judges will review your work between Nov. 6-9. Current and retired history teachers will judge the essay and visual presentation based on quality of historical analysis, creativity, originality, credibility of sources, writing quality, and grammatical and spelling accuracy.

• Nov. 17: Public receives free admission to the museum in order to view your work and vote for its “fan favorite!”


Rules and Regulations
The first-place contestant will receive a certificate of achievement (something to put on that Common App!), a student membership to the MCHS, and Chipotle vouchers (valued at $100).

The second-place contestant and “fan-favorite” will receive an “honorable mention” certificate.

The work (both the essay and presentation) cannot be previously published and cannot be submitted elsewhere for publication. The essay should meet the following requirements:

• 12-point type, Times New Roman font, 1” margins

• Minimum 5 credible sources

• Include a Works Cited Page (attached as last page of written component, not included in word count)

For the visual presentation, participants may include, but are not limited to, a poster (freestanding 36-by-48-inch Project Display Board), documentary, PowerPoint, Prezi, or Historypin. Make sure to be as creative as possible!

At the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum, all contest participants have free access to our research library, packed full of ideas for your topic and credible sources to use. Please come visit us! Contact us at 815-923-2267 or at uncoveringthepastcon-test@gmail.com with any questions.

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