MANCHESTER - This year's 159 entries for the Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition came from Vermont eighth graders from as far north as St. Albans and as far south as Bennington.

Southern Vermont was well represented this year by eighth graders from schools in the towns of Arlington, Bennington, Brattleboro, Dorset, Londonderry, Manchester, Poultney and Winhall.

Stratton Mountain School student, Gwenna Mae Chalmers won an Honorable Mention for her essay on Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma.

A celebratory luncheon will be hosted by Hildene at the Lincoln family estate on Sunday, May 18, following a tour of The Lincoln Family Home. Each winner, along with their parents, teachers, and principal will attend as Hildene's guests. All Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition 2014 winners will receive their awards. The first, second and third place winners will read their essays.

Perfect Wife and Spiral Press Cafe are this year's sponsors. This Hildene program is open to the public. For those wishing to attend the luncheon, the cost is $20 per person. This includes admission to Hildene for the day. Reservations are required.

The students found their inspiration for writing in leaders who are "currently striving locally, nationally or globally to make the world a better place, despite considerable obstacles."

They chose people from all corners of the earth, representing diverse ethnicity's, religions, political beliefs and walks of life, among them presidents, politicians, authors, scientists, human rights activists young and old, environmentalists, teachers and a state supreme court justice.

Each was an individual who, like Lincoln, persevered against all odds to advance the cause of liberty and justice for all. The sum of their collective lives exemplifies the very meaning of the Hildene Mission: Values into Action.

The goal of the Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition is to promote awareness in the minds of a young generation of Americans of the contributions of President Abraham Lincoln.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Stepha nie at 802-367-7960.