October is Hispanic Heritage Month

September 5, 2014

Students Compete for 7th Consecutive Year in HHM Essay Contest

Students in English 2 and English 2 Honors classes are writing personal essays for the Hispanic Heritage Month State Commemoration Essay Contest.  The contest is open to all students enrolled in Nebraska public or private schools, grades 6-12.  The essays for the high school division (9-12) must be 500-700 words and may be written in English or Spanish.  A blind jury of educators, business professionals and community leaders judge the essays.  The benefit of contest essay writing is to expand the reach of student voices as they reach a much larger and diverse audience. 

  This year the theme is based upon reflections from two influential Hispanic leaders, educator Jaime Escalante and artist Frida Kahlo.  In addition to referencing a quotation from one of these individuals, the students are asked to write to one of these questions:  “How does your heritage and culture reflect who you are as a person?” and “How has society or current events impacted your self-image as an ethnically diverse individual?”  Students are encouraged to reflect upon the words of Escalante and Kahlo as they write about their own lives.

  Lexington students have been fortunate to take part in the official commemoration ceremony each of the seven years LHS has entered the contest.  Held in the rotunda of the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln, the first place winners in the middle school and high school divisions are asked to read their essays at the ceremony.   Last year’s first place winner John Mark Shields remarked, "I felt honored to represent Lexington in this way:  to be a white male who has grown up my whole life surrounded by Hispanic culture and be able to share how it made my life better and formed me into a better person was just phenomenal.”

Not only did Shields receive a certificate, cash prize and Kindle E-Reader, but McDonald’s, one of the corporate sponsors of the contest, published his winning essay on its tray liners for the month of October in Nebraska.  Trevor McKeone and Jordyn Glaze were second and third place winners respectively.  Senior Kevin Tobias won third place in the contest as a sophomore. 

  Ms. Chesley’s English 2 and English 2 Honors classes will be writing essays, a total of 81 students.  In addition, Mr. Hanaphy’s students have the option of writing the essay.  This year the HHM Commemoration is scheduled for October 10.  Hopefully one or more LHS students will have the privilege to attend.