On December 11, 1816, Indiana became the 19th state to join the Union. Each year on that date, various activities celebrating Indiana's birthday take place around the state.
One of my personal favorites is the Statehood Day celebration held at the Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis. I would like to invite all fourth-grade classrooms in the Fort Wayne area to attend Statehood Day this year, and commemorate the uniqueness of what it means to be a Hoosier.
As part of Statehood Day, fun and educational events will be conducted throughout the capitol, including special guest speakers from all three branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial. The Statehouse and other government buildings will be open for students to participate in activities with a focus on Indiana history and the functions of state government.
This is a great way to bring fourth-grade textbooks to life, and showcase the Indiana history and government these students are learning about in the classroom.
As a tradition, fourth-grade students are also encouraged to participate in the annual Statehood Day essay contest. In celebration of our Hoosier roots and upcoming 200th birthday as a state, this year's theme is Bicentennial Heroes. Students should write essays that answer the question, "Who is a Hoosier Bicentennial Hero to You?"
Essays must range from 100 to 300 words, be handwritten or typed, and postmarked before October 25. They need to be mailed to: Indiana Center for the Book, c/o Suzanne Walker, 140 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204.
Winners will be honored on December 11 at the 197th Statehood Day celebration in Indianapolis.
I hope many families and teachers will get involved to help our young students learn their state's history and what being a Hoosier is all about.
For more information about the essay contest and Statehood Day in Indianapolis, please visit www.in.gov/library/statehood.htm .
Of course, visitors are welcome to tour Indiana's historic Statehouse any time of year. Plan a trip, learn about the history of the building, or schedule a tour by contacting the Statehouse Tour Office at 233-5293.