NMSU New Mexico statehood centennial essay contest seeks student entries

September 14, 2011 by Minerva Baumann, NMSU News Center

What does it mean to be a New Mexican and what does agriculture mean to New Mexico? High school seniors across the state have an opportunity to write an essay on either subject to be eligible to win a $2,500 scholarship. Two scholarships will be awarded, one for the winning essay on each topic. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 1, 2011.

The New Mexico State University history department is coordinating the essay contest as part of the university’s centennial celebration of New Mexico statehood. The university will kick off its statehood celebrations in October with the NMSU homecoming events.

“As we celebrate the centenary of New Mexico Statehood, we want to invite all high school seniors in the state to write an essay about one or both of these two questions,” said Jon Hunner, NMSU history professor and department head. “Knowing about New Mexico’s past helps New Mexicans understand where we came from, who we are and where we are going.”

The agriculture scholarship was donated by the Mesa Farmers Cooperative and may be used at an institution of higher learning selected by the winner. The heritage scholarship will be awarded by the NMSU Foundation and may be used at New Mexico State University.

For the agricultural scholarship, the theme is “What does agriculture mean to New Mexico?” For the heritage scholarship, the theme is “What does it mean to be a New Mexican?”

“New Mexico’s past tells us about some of the most interesting and important stories of any state in the United States.” Hunner said. “From the stargazers at Chaco Canyon to the star chasers at the spaceport, from the Spanish explorers and colonists to the ranchers, farmers and business people of the territorial and statehood periods, New Mexicans have a deep history and a rich heritage. We hope this essay contest will help our high school seniors share what they know and how they feel about our state.”

The essays should be between 750 and 1,000 words. Each submission must include contact information for the student and a phone number for a school advisor or counselor to verify the student is a senior attending a New Mexico high school. Hard copies of the essay should be mailed to Jon Hunner, Department of History, MSC 3H, P.O. Box 30001, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M. 88003.

The winners will be announced at the New Mexico Statehood Centennial breakfast in Las Cruces on Jan. 6, 2012. For more information, contact Hunner at jhunner@nmsu.edu or 575-646-2490.

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