Rensselaer student places third in statewide essay competition

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE – State Representative Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Parrish, from Van Rensselaer Elementary School, placed third in this year’s fourth grade essay competition. On Statehood Day, as one of the four winners statewide, Elizabeth was able to invite her class to the State Library to celebrate Indiana’s 197th birthday.

“Placing third in a statewide essay competition is a major accomplishment, and I am so proud of Elizabeth for her outstanding achievement,” said Rep. Gutwein. “After reading her essay, Elizabeth did an excellent job of reminding us of why Indiana’s rich history is so important, especially in Northwest Indiana, and that so many Hoosiers have significantly contributed to the prosperity of our great state.”

On December 11, 1816, Indiana was founded, becoming the 19th state in the Union. To commemorate almost 200 years since Indiana’s inception, the topic of this year’s essay contest was about Indiana’s Bicentennial Heroes.

Hosted by the Indiana Statehouse Tour Office, the Indiana Center for the Book and the Indiana State Library, participating fourth graders were able to learn about Indiana’s rich history while working to win a trip with their class, to one of four historic locations, as well as a scholarship. Essays were judged by a panel comprised of volunteer educators and Indiana State Library staff.

Elizabeth’s third place essay titled, My Hoosier Bicentennial Heroes, recognized the Potowatomi Indians of Northwest Indiana, librarians, her pastor and various family members as some of her Hoosiers heroes. At the State Library, Elizabeth was able to read her essay in front of her fourth grade class as well as participate in other activities to celebrate the state’s birthday.

“Elizabeth mentioned several Hoosiers significant to her, but I think she did a great job of explaining why they are significant to us all,” said Rep. Gutwein. “I hope she enjoyed all the activities and time spent touring the State Library with her class today.”

Visit to read Elizabeth’s essay or to learn more about the statewide essay competition, or visit for additional information about Rep. Gutwein.