2015 Iowa Juneteenth Essay Contest

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juneteenth To:  Iowa High Schools, Community Organizations, and Families

From: Celeste Lawson, Vice Chair of Education Programs, Iowa Juneteenth Observance

Subject:  2015 Iowa Juneteenth Observance ‘Essay Contest’

‘Juneteenth’ is an international observance marking the end to slavery on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth will celebrate 150 years of celebration during 2015.  The Iowa Juneteenth Observance will mark its 25th anniversary as well. On April 11, 2002, Governor Tom Vilsack signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as an official day of recognition in Iowa that is observed annually on the third Saturday in June.

ELIGIBILITY: The essay contest is statewide and open to ‘all students’ enrolled in grades 9 through 11. We encourage essayists to enlist the guidance of a teacher or other adult in completing the essay. The essay contest serves as an inspirational vehicle for youth to strengthen appreciation for: 1) scholarship; 2) cultural diversity; and 3) the enhancement of community relations.

THEME: How does education influence freedom, liberty, and responsible citizenship in a culturally diverse society?



  1. Essays must be a minimum of 500 words and not exceed 700 words;
  2. Essays may be typed or word-processed (double spaced);
  3. Essayists must use at least 5 sources of information from books, newspapers, magazines, or websites which must be listed (cited) on a separate page and submitted with the essay;
  4. Submit a color photo (portrait style – headshot), and
  5. Complete the Student Information Form provided with this application.

TOP HONORS: Each of the three winning essayists will receive a trophy. In addition, the first place winner will receive a $1,000.00 gift card, the second place winner will receive a $300.00 gift card, and the third place winner will receive a $200.00 gift card. The trophies and gift cards are scheduled to be presented at the Iowa Juneteenth Observance (IJO) ‘Community Appreciation Banquet’ in Des Moines on June 11, 2015 (winning essayists must be present to receive their trophies/gift cards – additional banquet details will be provided to the winners and each winner will also receive up to 3 banquet tickets for family and friends). In addition, all applicants who successfully meet the essay contest requirements will receive an invitation from Drake University for an on-campus visit.

DEADLINE: Submit your essay, along with the Student Information Form, your photo, and your list of reading sources, by email, on or before March 31, 2015, to prinzcipal@aol.com  (Celeste Lawson, IJO Vice Chair for Educational Programs… or send the original essay by regular mail (postmarked by March 31, 2015) to:

Connect Foundation

Iowa Juneteenth Essay Contest

P.O. Box 65204

West Des Moines, IA 50265-0204

Note: Students who are family members of the: 1) Iowa Juneteenth Observance Planning Committee; or 2) Drake University administration, faculty, or staff – are ineligible for the essay contest. For additional information, please contact: Celeste Lawson at prinzcipal@aol.com    

Download Registration Form

2 Responses to “2015 Iowa Juneteenth Essay Contest”

  1. Keyla Deal

    I am having trouble downloading the form I can only download a picture


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