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Best essay wins round-trip Southwest Airline tickets and a two-night, fun-filled weekend in
San Antonio

AUSTIN -
Fourth- and seventh-grade students with a love of Texas history have the chance to win a

fun-filled weekend in San Antonio - including round-trip airline tickets on Southwest Airlines - for

simply writing an essay.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is calling for entries in the 2010 Save Texas History Texas
Travels Essay Contest. Last year's contest was such a success, Patterson opened the competition up to
students in both the fourth-grade and seventh-grade.
"I was overwhelmed with both the quality and the quantity of essays we received last year," Patterson
said. "The idea behind this contest was to inspire Texas school kids to take pride in our heritage as
Texans, and from what I saw, it worked."
Seventh graders are asked to write the story of their favorite Texas city, big or small. The length: 500-
700 words, typed. Students are asked to write about the historical significance of the place they choose
and give reasons why they think the community was important to the development of Texas.
"A good education, like a positive attitude, opens doors to success. Save Texas History contributes to
both qualities by making children aware, self confident and proud of the beautiful spaces around
them," said Christine Ortega, Manager of Corporate Community Affairs for Southwest Airlines.
"Southwest is proud to be the official airline of this great program."
Ariel McFalls, a seventh-grader at Westbrook Intermediate School in Friendswood, won top honors in
last year's contest. Her essay on the Caddoan Mounds detailed the rapid decline of the once
prosperous Caddos, who built the mounds and flourished in Texas before the arrival of Europeans.
- more -
Fourth graders are asked to write from the perspective of a well-known explorer. Looking through the
eyes of Cabeza de Vaca, Francisco Coronado, de la Salle or any other explorer who charted what is
now Texas, fourth graders must explain why they are exploring Texas and what they see as they travel.
The winning entry will explain the explorers' plans to settle the new land and what they have
accomplished through their journey.
The Texas Travels Essay Contest is sponsored by the General Land Office Save Texas History
program and Southwest Airlines. The contest fulfills the educational mission of the Save Texas
History program to promote the study of Texas history and to serve as a teaching resource.
While all Texas fourth- and seventh-grade students study Texas history, Patterson hopes that asking
students to write about the history of places close to their hearts will help make their stories come
alive.
All essays must be postmarked by January 30, 2010. All public, private and home-schooled students of
appropriate age for the fourth-grade or seventh-grade are eligible to participate.
Essays will be judged on originality of idea, cohesiveness of thought and organization. Proper
grammar, spelling and punctuation counts.
One grand prize winner per grade will receive round-trip airline tickets for four to San Antonio from
any Southwest Airlines destination in Texas, hotel accommodations for two nights, a tour of the
Alamo and tickets for additional attractions. Ten finalists will win Save Texas History backpacks, a
Certificate of Appreciation signed by Commissioner Patterson and a historic map replica from the
Land Office Archives Collection.

For more details, visit SaveTexasHistory.org.
 
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