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MRL Announces 25th Annual Honored Teachers Essay Contest

Entries accepted through March 4, 2022

Massanutten Regional Library is pleased to announce that the 25th annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Essay Contest is underway. 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 live or go to public, private or home schools in the city of Harrisonburg or in Rockingham or Page Counties. Students are invited to enter essays recognizing current or past teachers who have made a difference in their lives. Each essay should be the original work of the student and should follow the official contest guidelines, available at  The deadline for entries is Friday, March 4, 2022.  

The Kiwanis Club of Harrisonburg will once again serve as judges 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.

Essays can be delivered in-person to any of MRL’s seven branch locations, emailed to or mailed to Mary Golden Hughes, Massanutten Regional Library, Honored Teachers Contest, 174 S. Main St., Harrisonburg VA 22801. Submissions must be accompanied by an official entry form, which can be downloaded from

A reception recognizing the winning essays and the teachers honored will be held on Thursday, April 7, at 7:00 PM, at the Central Library in downtown Harrisonburg, pandemic conditions permitting. If pandemic conditions are unfavorable, the event will be held via Zoom for winning essayists and their honored teachers.

Since its founding in 1997, the Honored Teachers Essay Contest has received over 5,000 student entries—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.

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