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MRL Announces 26th Annual Honored Teacher Essay Contest

Entries accepted through March 17, 2023

Massanutten Regional Library is pleased to announce that the 26th annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teacher 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 this link in English. For a Spanish translation of the entry form, please click here. The deadline for entries is Friday, March 17, 2023.  

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 mghughes@mrlib.org 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 at this link in English or here in Spanish.

A reception recognizing the winning essays and the teachers honored will be held on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at 7:00 PM, at the Central Library in downtown Harrisonburg. Winning students and their caregivers will be invited to attend, as well as the teachers honored in their essays. The "Honored Teacher of the Year" will be kept secret until this event.

Since 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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