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State Historical Society announces winners of essay contest

Three South Dakota fourth graders have been named winners of the South Dakota State Historical Society Historical Preservation Office’s annual Fourth Grade Student Essay Contest.

The “This Place Matters” Fourth Grade Student Essay Contest is a writing competition coordinated by the Historic Preservation Office as a component of their annual South Dakota Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month celebrated each May. Students are asked to write an essay about any South Dakota location that is at least 50 years old and explain why it is a favorite place and why it should be preserved. This year, there were a record 232 essays submitted from 28 different schools across the state.

Judges from the Historical Preservation Office read and ranked all the essays based on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality. The essay contest winners are as follows: 

  • First place: “If Barn Walls Could Talk,” by Paisley Carter, Jolley Elementary School in Vermillion.
  • Second place: “The Bait Shop,” by Sydnee Stevens, Gettysburg Elementary School.
  • Third place: “212 Forest City Bridge,” by Chiles Heien from Gettysburg Elementary School.

These essays can be read at .

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered in Pierre. The center houses the society’s museum, archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development departments. For questions or memberships, call (605) 773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.