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Students challenged to DESCRIBE KANSAS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 January 2018 10:45


• Leader & Times

Local students interested in working on their writing skills and potentially winning some cash prizes will soon have the opportunity to do just that. 

Entries are currently being accepted for the 2018 Kansas Book Festival Contest, with this year’s theme being “Describe Kansas.” Students in grades 3 through 12 are eligible to enter the contest, with the levels being from 3rd to 5th grade, 6th to 8th grade and 9th to 12th grade. Entries will be accepted until April 30.

“The theme for 2018 is ‘Describe Kansas,’ which I think is awesome and I think there’s so many directions you could take with that,” Liberal Memorial Library Director Royce Kitts said. “You can approach it from how you feel about it or you can do a more studious approach to it and do more of a history essay, and I think that’s where the library comes in because we have such an extensive collection on Kansas history. One of the things Kansans should certainly be proud of is the history and legacy of the state. It’s a great opportunity, especially for children, to participate in doing some research on the state and putting all that together into an essay. It’s a really cool contest and the thing I like most about it is it’s divided among the congressional districts in Kansas so it gives people the opportunity to write from a few different places – for instance, Liberal and Manhattan are in the same district. They do 1st and 2nd places and divide the groups by grades. Not only does it give people the chance to say what Kansas means to them, it also encourages writing skills too because part of the judging is done not only on the topic but also if it’s grammatically correct and if it’s coherent, all of that.”

There will be one first place winner and one second place winner in each of the grade level divisions per Congressional District, the entry form noted, with cash prizes being given to the top two. In the 3rd to 5th grade division, first place will receive $100, with second place receiving $50; in the 6th to 8th grade division, first place will receive $250 with second place receiving $125; and in the 9th to 12th grade division, first place will receive $500, with second place receiving $250. All winning essays will be compiled into a book and each winner will receive their own copy, Kitts added.

“Another cool thing besides the recognition and the monetary award is you also get a book with all the entries in it that won, which means you’re technically published and then later generations can look at your work,” Kitts said. “Any entrant who wants to mail their entry in, we can mail it for them and entries can also be e-mailed. The only somewhat bad thing is if you win, you won’t find out until the end of July, so it is a bit of a long wait. But it’s something to look forward to over the summer. And I know homeschool teachers are always looking for extra things to add to their curriculum, so this is a great thing to add, I think.”

Kitts added some of the benefits he sees in such contests being available. 

“For myself, I remember when I was in high school and I actually won a city-wide poetry contest but at that time I wasn’t interested in poetry or writing that much,” Kitts said. “But when I won that, it kind of sparked that idea ‘Maybe I have some skills in this.’ Especially for younger people, it’s a great opportunity to expand the mind with creative endeavors like this – there’s so much emphasis on different STEM programs but what I think gets overlooked is it is possible for people to make a living through creative endeavors.”

For those interested in participating, entries may be e-mailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or may be sent by mail to the Topeka Community Foundation Attn: Kansas Book Festival to 5431 SW 29th St., Suite 300 Topeka, KS 66614. The entry form can be found on the library’s Web site at http://lmlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-Kansas-Book-Festival-Writing-Contest.pdf.

Kitts offered encouragement for interested young writers to enter and said he is looking forward to seeing how many come into the library for assistance and materials. 

“If anyone’s interested in doing this, they can stop by the library for more information,” Kitts said. “We have librarians here all the time who are willing to work with patrons and help look for information, even if it’s just how to find the application. We’re here to help and I encourage anyone who wants to enter to enter.”




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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