In November 1863, President Lincoln used fewer than 300 words to make his Gettysburg Address, one of the most revered speeches ever written. The Illinois State Library, Illinois State Archives, Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Center for the Book are co-sponsoring an essay competition challenging students in grades 5-12 to use 300 words or less to share their personal thoughts and dreams about where we are as a nation, and their ideals for freedom, democracy and equal opportunity.
The Illinois State Library will send winners and their parents or guardians to Springfield for an awards presentation in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, 2009. Winners will read their essays at the awards ceremony, tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, and receive a plaque and cash award: $200 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place. Winning essays will also be published in the 2009 Handbook of Illinois Government.