Feb. 24, 2006 – Public and private school students in grades four through 12, as well as home schooled students in those grade groups, are invited to enter the first Women's History Month essay contest sponsored by the V.I. Commission on the Status of Women.
"The goal is to get more students to start understanding the role of women in the community," said commission member Sonia Boyce on Thursday.
The essay contest is open to girls and boys in Virgin Islands schools.
Prizes for grades nine through 12 are $200 for first place, $175 for second place and $100 for third place.
Essay contest winners in grades seven and eight will receive $175 for first, $125 for second and $75 for third.
Students in grades four through six will receive $100 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third.
Boyce said the prize money was raised at their recent Hall of Fame event.
Students in grades nine through 12 must write on "How can more Virgin Islands women be encouraged to become involved in local politics?"
"We can get some advice from those with a fresh perspective," Boyce said.
Essays for students in those grades must be 600 words or less. This does not include the source list.
The theme for those in grades seven and eight is "What in your opinion is a major issue facing Virgin Islands women today and why?"
"This is mostly to try to get them thinking," Boyce said.
Essays for grades seven and eight are limited to 400 words plus the source list.
The topic for grades four through six is "In your life today, what current Virgin Islands woman has influenced who you are?"
"It's going to be interesting to see if they pick their mother, their teacher or go into history," Boyce said.
The maximum length for grades four through six is 300 words plus the source list.
All entries must be typed on white paper 8 ½ inches by 11 inches. Students must double space their essays.
They also must include an entry form.
Essays must list both primary and secondary sources.
A panel of educators, activists and commission representatives will judge the entries.
Boyce said the Education Department helped the commission identify teachers who were interested in the essay contest.
"Most of the schools are doing it in English and history classes," she said.
She said that those teachers will select the best entry from each of their classrooms to enter in the contest. Teachers who participate in the contest will receive gift certificates to buy something for their classrooms.
The essay contest deadline is March 3, and winners will read their essays at a ceremony later in March.
For entry forms and more information, call Boyce at 773-1404, Dorothy Joseph at 642-5134, Cenita Heywood at 277-3537, Shirley Saddler at 775-9928, or Horace Brooks at 693-4354.
Essays must be mailed to Virgin Islands Commission on the Status of Women, P.O. Box 222736, Christiansted, VI 00822-2736.
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