Lincoln 8th-grade essay contest deadline is Feb. 12

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MANCHESTER — Entries are still being accepted from schools and individual students for the 12th annual Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition, with submissions due by mail or by hand, on or before President Abraham Lincoln's birthday Feb. 12.

This past fall, application packets for contest were distributed to teachers of eighth-grade English, history, and social studies, and to librarian and home school networks statewide.

With all materials available on line at www.hildene.org/schools.html, interested students are still able to enter the competition independently as well.

The concept of what it means to be a patriotic American can sometimes lead to heated debate.

In his time, Lincoln was viewed as both a traitor and a patriot.

Many Americans, particularly those in the southern and border states, believed his actions to abolish slavery threatened their economic livelihood and flew in the face of the Constitution and their idea of American freedom.

Others came to view the president as the epitome of patriotism because he wished to preserve the Union at all costs and because he knew the Union could not allow slavery and be a true democracy with justice for all: the "last best hope of Earth."

Today the nation is deeply divided on many issues. Among them is the concept of patriotism, which Merriam-Webster, 2017 defines as "love for or devotion to one's country." With this definition in mind, students who accept the challenge this year are required to answer the following prompt in no more than 500 words:

"Describe a current or recent event in which the actions of a participant(s) may be viewed as patriotic by some and as unpatriotic by others. Discuss the differing points of view. What is your position and why?"

Essays will be evaluated by a panel of judges, and winners will be notified by March 31.

A celebratory luncheon will take place at Hildene on May 20.

The first-, second- and third-place winners will read their essays aloud and receive their awards: first place, $1,000; second place, $750; third place, $500; and up to 10 honorable mentions of $200 each.

If students have questions or would like to receive a packet by mail, call Stephanie at 802-367-7960 or email stephanie@hildene.org. Hildene is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

This program is supported by Perfect Wife and Spiral Press Caf .

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