The University of Illinois at Springfield and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission co-sponsored a state-wide Lincoln Forum Scholarship Contest for students in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of 16th President Abraham Lincoln. First, second and third place winners presented their winning work at UIS on the morning of Saturday, April 4, and were hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in the afternoon, followed by tours of the Lincoln Home and New Salem on Sunday.
“The quality of the students’ work was truly exceptional,” said Dean Margot Duley of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIS. “Lincoln believed that education is ‘the most important subject that we as a people may be engaged in.’ The students, their parents, their sponsoring teachers and their schools can be justly proud of embracing and embodying that Lincoln legacy.”
This contest was open to Illinois high school students in grades 11 and 12 attending public, private, parochial or home schools, or Illinois students enrolled in high school correspondence/GED programs during the 2008-2009 academic year.
The contest was comprised of three categories, and prizes for each category included one year tuition waiver at UIS or $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place.
Category I was called “Historical Essay,” and entrants chose one of the following topics as the focus of their essay: Lincoln on race, Lincoln and wartime civil liberties or Lincoln’s religious or spiritual beliefs.
Mark Podeschi received first place for his Spiritual Views essay titled “Lincoln and his Lord.” Podeschi, of Taylorville, is a student at V.I.T. High School in Table Grove under the guidance of teacher Mary Dawson.
Amy Nosbisch, a Deitrich native, was the second place winner with her Lincoln on Race essay called “Lincoln: Friend or Foe to the African-American Race.” Nosbisch studies under teacher Rebekah Volk at Teutopolis High School.
Taylor Franzen Perkins, from Flanagan, received third place for her Spiritual Views essay, titled “Lincoln’s Binding Thread.” Perkins is a student at Flanagan-Cornell High School.
Category II focused on creative written works inspired by Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. Submissions were accepted in the genres of poetry, short story and dramatic script.
Shelby Adcock, of Table Grove, won first place for her short story submission titled “The Pride of New Salem.” Adcock studies with teacher Karen Lafary at V.I.T. High School.
Joseph Capps, a native of Mt. Vernon, received second place in the poetry category for his work called “Lincoln’s Greatness.” He studies with teacher Melanie Gulley at Mount Vernon Township High School.
Alyssa Huber, of Sugar Grove, won third place for her dramatic script submission titled “Young Lincoln’s Joke.” Huber is homeschooled by Linda Huber.
Category III was “Performance and Visual Arts.” Submissions were accepted in the visual arts fields of painting and drawing, graphic design, printmaking, digital imagery, sculpture, ceramics and glass, textiles, film and video, photography and mixed media, and in the performance arts fields of original music composition, solo performance based on student’s own writing and solo performance based on Lincoln’s own words or speeches.
John Tienken, a native of Clarendon Hills and student at Hinsdale Central High School, received first place for his video/film submission called “A Great American.” He studies with Christopher Freiler.
Jennifer Wilson, of Galesburg, was the second place winner with her work in the Ceramics category titled “A Nation Ripped at the Seams.” Wilson is a student at Galesburg High School under teacher Sheryl Lee Hinman.
Allison Abrahamian, of Burbank, won third place for her work of graphic design titled “Stand with Me.” Abrahamian studies under the guidance of teacher Katherine Kalus at Reavis High School.
Laura Powers, a Springfield native and homeschooled student under Carla Powers, received an honorable mention for her video/film submission called “The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.”