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Honored Teachers Essay Contest

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Is there a teacher who has made a difference for you?

  • A teacher who went the extra mile to help you learn a subject or finish a project?
  • A teacher who challenged you to write, to act, to play or to paint?
  • A teacher who inspired you to follow a dream?
  • A teacher who encouraged you, who stuck with you, who made you feel special?

Tell us your story by writing an essay that honors the special teacher in your life and submitting it to the 22nd annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Essay Contest.


Prizes will be awarded to the top two essays in each of the following categories:

  • K-2nd
  • 3rd-5th
  • 6th-8th
  • 9th-12th

For K-8th grades, the winning essay in each category will receive $125, and the runner-up will receive $75.

For 9th-12th grades, the winning essay will receive $250, and the runner-up will receive $100.

One of the teachers honored in the five winning essays from all categories will be selected “Honored Teacher of the Year” and will receive $1,000!

Guidelines for Contest


The Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Essay Contest is open to all K-12 students in the City of Harrisonburg and the Counties of Page and Rockingham.

General Guidelines

  • Only one entry per student.
  • Essays must be original work by the student; parents and/or teachers should refrain from assisting with content, word choice, or other editorial input.
  • Entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form.
  • Submitted entries cannot be returned.
  • Receipt of entries is not confirmed.
  • Winners will be notified by phone.
  • Deadline for submissions: February 10, 2018 @ 4 PM.

Essays can be submitted through our online entry form, or fill out a paper entry form and submit it and the essay in-person at any of the seven MRL branch locations, or by mail to the attention of:

Michael Evans
Massanutten Regional Library
174 S. Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Phone: 540.434.4475 x135

Reminder: All entries must be received by the contest deadline:

Saturday, February 10, 2018 @ 4 PM

Specifics for Grades 9-12

Topic: Tell us about a favorite teacher who has really made a difference in your life.

  • Please submit typed, double-spaced essays of 500 words or less.

Specifics for Grades K-8

Topic: What is special about your favorite teacher?

  • Submit typewritten/handwritten essays of 250 words or less.
  • For young children, it is permissible for an adult to transcribe the child’s dictated essay.

Contest Judging

Members of the  Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club will serve as judges of the contest.

When reading the essays, the judges look for:

  • well-planned themes
  • excellent grammar skills
  • essay originality
  • specific evidence of outstanding teachers and students

Every year, we receive many outstanding entries, and the judges often have to made very hard decisions between many deserving essays. All decisions of the judges are final.

Awards Reception — Save the Date!

Winning essayists and honored teachers will be contacted after February 13 and will be invited to a special awards reception on Thursday, February 22, 7 PM, at the Central Library in downtown Harrisonburg.

Snow Date for reception has been set for March 1, 7 PM.

About the Contest

Now in its 22nd year, the Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Essay Contest is made possible by the generous support of the Strickler family, in honor of their parents, Robert and Gladys Strickler, who were lifelong educators. By sponsoring this annual contest, the Strickler’s seek to recognize and raise awareness of the many positive ways that teachers impact and influence the lives of their students.