State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, invites local fourth-grade students to celebrate Indiana's 196th birthday by entering the annual Statehood Day essay contest and answering the question, "What does Indiana mean to you?" before Oct. 29.
Local fourth-grade classrooms are also invited to attend Statehood Day celebrations in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Space is limited and classrooms must be registered.
Teachers can contact Capitol Tour Office Coordinator Jennifer Hodge at 317-233-5293 or jhodge@ idoa.in.gov to sign up.
Indiana became the nation's 19th state on Dec. 11, 1816.
"Statehood Day offers a unique look at Indiana's history, and the celebrations in Indianapolis allow students to see the roots of that history first-hand," Banks says.
"I encourage every fourth-grader to participate, whether at home or at our state's capital."
Banks adds that the essay competition is open to any fourth-grade public, private or home-schooled student and is easy to enter. The following rules apply:
• Essays must include the student's name, teacher's or parent's name, school's name and contact information, including address and telephone number.
• Entries must range from 100 to 400 words, handwritten or typed.
• Students should convey what living in the state of Indiana means to them and highlight things that make them glad to be a Hoosier.
• Essays must be postmarked no later than Monday, Oct. 29. Mailed essays should be sent to Indiana Center for the Book, 315 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202.
Judges will choose first, second, third and fourth place winners.
The first place winner will be invited to read his or her essay during the Dec. 11 celebration at the Statehouse.
For more information about the Statehood Day programs, visit www. in.gov/idoa/2774.htm.