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Highland Community College announces Jane Addams Essay Contest

Highland Community College has announced a call for submissions for the 2019 Jane Addams Essay Contest. Highland students and high school students attending a school in Stephenson County are invited to submit an essay about Addams by April 26 on the topic of Addams’ belief in democracy.

Jane Addams was born in 1860 in Cedarville and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her work to better the lives of workers, children, women, immigrants, the poor and others in Illinois and around the world.

The essay contest promotes literacy as well as awareness of Addams’ work and is given to two groups: one for a high school student in Stephenson County and one for a Highland College students. Email submissions to

Addams is best known for establishing the Hull House in Near West Side Chicago which opened in 1889 with the goal of providing the poor, working-class immigrants in the neighborhood with social and educational opportunities. Hull House became a model for more than 150 settlement houses subsequently built throughout the nation. Regular events were hosted at Hull House which attracted well-known artists, authors, musicians, academics, feminists, politicians and reformers who studied and emulated her work.

Addams died in 1935 and was buried at her request in the Cedarville Cemetery. She was the eighth of nine children born to an eight-term Illinois state senator, John H. Addams. Mr. Addams ran a mill in Cedarville, was President of Freeport Second National Bank and had many important friends, including President Abraham Lincoln.

Addams received her A.B. degree from Rockford College in 1882, where she met the first of many women who became co-founders, collaborators, and funders of her initiatives. Some of these women became residents of Hull House.

Last year Bailey Frank, won the $350 award for his Highland essay titled, “Jane Addams’ Intriguing Philosophy,” while Caitlyn Krell, Pearl City High School junior won $250 for her essay. Adrian Kostalari, Krell’s teacher received $50.