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Annual Events

Honored Teachers Essay Contest

Since 1997, MRL has been pleased to host the annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teacher Essay Contest. Dedicated to celebrating the inspiring influence of our area’s educators, the Honored Teacher Essay Contest is open to all students, grades K-12, who attend public, private, or home schools in the city of Harrisonburg. or in Rockingham or Page Counties. Each year, students are invited to enter essays recognizing current or past teachers who have made a difference in their lives.

From mid-February to mid-March each year, students are encouraged to submit essays either in-person at any MRL branch; through the mail to Mary Golden Hughes, Massanutten Regional Library, 174 S, Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801; by email to Entry form must accompany the essay. Click here to download the form in English or here for Spanish.

The Kiwanis Club of Harrisonburg judges the essays for the contest and will choose the top two essays in each of the following grade ranges: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Essay winners in each grade range will receive $150, while runners-up will receive $100 each. In addition, one of the teachers honored from the winning essays from all categories will be selected “Honored Teacher of the Year” and will receive $1,000 to enhance his/her teaching. Student award winners and the teaches they honor are then invited to a special celebration in their honor during National Library Week in April (April 11, 2024 at 7PM this year).

The Honored Teachers Essay Contest has received over 5,000 student entries through the years—each heartfelt and each celebrating phenomenal local teachers who make incredible differences in the lives of areas students. The contest was made possible through the generosity of Robert H. “Twig” Strickler and his wife Lorraine, who set up a memorial endowment through to honor Twig’s parents, Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler, who were both inspiring teachers. To date, the contest has awarded a total of more than $10,000 to teachers to enhance their work, as well as thousands of dollars in prizes to student writers. Though Mr. Strickler passed away in 2019 at the age of 90, the program continues to honor his and Lorraine’s commitment to highlighting the importance of excellent teaching in the Valley.

Inform. Inspire. Connect.

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