Fall features new learning options for teens

The Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (www.mapm.org) welcomes Minnesota high school juniors and seniors to start the new school year by entering the first annual Leslie Reindl Peace Essay Contest.   The intent is to encourage and assist young people to focus on the many dimensions of the theme of peace and justice. Sponsors suggest that essayists think and write about what peace and justice mean to them personally, how to implement peace and justice in their school or community, how compassion can improve the writer’s community or build a better world, or to think about the roots of conflict locally or internationally.

Three scholarships will be awarded: first prize is $1000, second $750 and third $500. Scholarship recipients will be invited to speak at the Alliance annual celebration on November 10.

Essays must be original work, 800-1000 words, word-processed, and accompanied by a statement from a teacher, youth leader or parent confirming that it is the original work of the submitter.   Submissions are due by October 15. Mail to Larry Johnson, Box 27314, Golden Valley, MN 55417. Essays may also be submitted by email. Address questions, comments or request for application forms to Larry Johnson, larryvfp@gmail.com, 612 747 3904.

Meanwhile, the annual National History Day student rush to research is launched with announcement of this year’s theme: “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.” (http://www.nhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016_ThemeSheet.pdf) The expansive theme sets the tone for social studies teachers and students even as it signals librarians, archivists, parents and grandparents that the floodgates are open for eager young researchers.

Planners underscore that “this theme is broad enough in scope to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local to world history and across any geographic area or time period.” This first phase obviously calls for a major brainstorming – no limits on topics to explore – “whether it is science, sports, art, travel, culture, or even specific people.” As any liberal arts major knows, the challenge is to focus! And therein lies the fun of it all!

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