By Rebekah Whirledge
The 500 Festival announced Monday that the winner of the 2012 Education Program Essay Contest is Adrianna Clark, fourth grader at Syracuse Elementary School. The 500 Festival received nearly 1,000 entries from fourth grade students across the state.The prompt for the essay contest asked students to imagine they had been selected to recommend a Grand Marshal for the IPL 500 Festival Parade. For this essay, the chosen Grand Marshal could be a Hoosier from the past or present.
Students were asked to describe why this person deserved to be the Grand Marshal. The 300-word essays were judged on the basis of focused ideas, compelling word choice, strong voice and standard writing principles.
Clark chose James Whitcomb Riley as her Grand Marshal candidate. In her essay, Clark told how she first became interested in the Hoosier poet while a patient at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Clark’s interest led her to research Riley and his well-known children’s poems like “Little Orphan Annie” and “The Raggedy Man,” which inspired the Raggedy Ann doll.
For her winning essay, Clark will receive a 500 Festival gift pack including four tickets to the IPL 500 Festival Parade and four tickets to the Indianapolis 500.
Her teacher, Kris Long, will also receive two qualification tickets and two tickets to the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Long was the one who encouraged Clark to enter the essay contest.
Clark’s fourth grade class celebrated her accomplishment with a party Tuesday.