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Indiana State Library News Release

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Rensselaer Student Reads Award-winning Essay at Statehood Day Ceremony

INDIANAPOLIS (December 9, 2011) - Jacob Parrish said growing up in a farming community is the best life for him in front of a large crowd at the Statehood Day Ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse this afternoon.  The fourth-grader from Van Rensselaer Elementary School in Rensselaer also said that although he has been to Indianapolis before, it was his first time in the Statehouse and that he hopes to one day see a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Thanks to a special surprise, he need not wait long to see his first Colts game. State Representative Douglas Gutwein (R-Rensselaer) rewarded Jacob with four tickets for the Colts' December 18th matchup versus the Tennessee Titans. In addition to Rep. Gutwein, Jacob accepted his award and other prizes from Indiana State Auditor Tim Berry, State Senator Jim Merritt, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David for winning the 2011 "What Indiana Means to Me" essay contest.

Three more students selected from over 2,200 entries were also recognized, including:

  • 2nd Place: Dilhara Moonesinghe - Sycamore Elementary (Kokomo)

  • 3rd Place: Xander Wilson - New Britton Elementary (Fishers)

  • Hon. Mention: Nicholas Roberts - Sheridan Elementary School

The first-place winner received a $300 College Choice 529 Scholarship, second-place a $200 and third place $100 scholarship from the Indiana State Treasurer. Each finalists' school library will receive a set of the Young Patriot Series Indiana Collection, donated by Florrie Binford Kichler of Patria Press. Additionally, all the winners and their respective classes were  invited to participate in Statehood Day activities throughout the day at the Statehouse, State Museum and Indiana Historical Society.

The Statehood Day Essay Contest takes place annually in the fall and is open to all Indiana fourth graders. All Indiana students are taught Indiana history as part of their fourth-grade curriculum. The program is administered by the Indiana Statehouse Tour Office and Indiana Center for the Book, an affiliate of the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The essays are judged by a panel of Indiana State Library staff and volunteer educators. The winner and runner-up, along with their class, are invited to attend the Statehood Day Ceremony.

Click here to read Jacob's award-winning essay in its entirety.

About Statehood Day:
On December 11, 1816, Indiana became the 19th state to join the Union. This year, Indiana Statehood Day celebrates Indiana's 195th birthday. A special ceremony is held annually on December 11 at the Indiana Statehouse. In addition to the ceremony, educational and interactive displays are presented by executive offices and state agencies in the Statehouse's South Atrium before and after the ceremony.



Media Contact: Drew Griffis
(317) 650-6158,

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