Essay, Oratory and Art Competitions Open


The application period for Truman’s annual Lincoln Contests is now open.

The contests include art, essay and oratory competitions. Each competition will include a first-place prize of $200 and a second-place prize of $100.

The prompt for this year’s competition will commemorate Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the document may have had a limited direct impact on the lives of many slaves, it was a watershed moment in stating that previously bound people shall be “forever free” (Emancipation Proclamation, paragraph 2). To emancipate commonly means to free from bondage, oppression or restraint.  This year’s prompt asks you to choose one of the following possibilities and develop it into an essay:
• Choose another emancipatory moment in Lincoln’s life and write about it, incorporating source material.
• Choose an emancipatory moment in someone’s life and, incorporating source material, write about it.

Essays should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, three to five pages, and can be submitted until March 20 to Barry Poyner in Barnett Hall 1110. A list of works cited should be used as appropriate, and the submission should include a cover sheet with contact information and the name of the competition being entered, essay, oratorical or both. Finalists in the oratorical contest will deliver their speeches before the National Communication Association Student Club later in the semester. Communication club members will assist this year’s judges, Chandrika Collins and Poyner, in judging.

For the art contest, entries can be submitted until March 20 to Rusty Nelson in Ophelia Parrish Hall 1221. Entries should follow the following criteria: artwork of any media is acceptable, traditional or digital output/projection – 2-D and 3-D; no larger than 18” x 24” for 2-D work and three feet in the round for 3-D work; projected work should be formatted for 16:9 screen ratio. Winning art will be added to the Schwengel Lincoln Collection in Special Collections at Pickler Memorial Library.

The Lincoln Contests in art, essay and oratory were established by Fred and Ethel Schwengel to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln.

Each year, the Advancement Office funds a $1,000 Lincoln-Douglas Debate Scholarship for an incoming freshman on Truman’s forensic team to be selected by Christopher Outzen, director of forensics, and Craig Hennigan, assistant director. This competition takes place among high school students and fulfills the Schwengel’s desire to see a contest on the high school level.

Fred Schwengel was raised in Franklin County, Iowa, and attended Sheffield High School. He was a 1930 alumnus of Northeast Missouri State Teachers college where he met his future wife, Ethel Cassity, a 1932 alumna and native of Purdin, Mo. The Schwengels returned to Fred’s native Iowa in 1937 where Fred was in the insurance business, and they raised two children, Frank and Dorothy. His interest in politics led him to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1945 where he served 10 consecutive terms before turning to the U.S. Congress where he served as a representative for eight terms. Mr. Schwengel passed away in 1993, and Mrs. Schwengel passed away in 2011 at age 102.
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