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Highland Community College announces Jane Addams Essay Contest

Highland Community College has announced a call for essays to be submitted to the 2018 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, 2018. Two awards will be given to winning writers – $250 for high school and $350 for college. Teachers will also receive recognition for having their students participate in the contest.

“Jane Addams is probably the most acclaimed, revered, accomplished leader to come from northwest Illinois,” according to Andy Dvorak who teaches history and political science at Highland. Dvorak has given some presentations on Addams’ life and work.

“Not only did she win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, but she also worked tirelessly and successfully to better the lives of workers, children, women, immigrants, and others in Chicago and around the world,” said Dvorak. “It is only recently that her groundbreaking work as a pragmatist philosopher and sociologist has been acknowledged.”

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.

Born in Cedarville, Illinois in 1860, 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.

“Highland is hosting this essay contest to help ensure that the moral and practical lessons from Addams’ life continue to be remembered and explored,” said Dvorak. “Participating students will learn about this inspiring, charismatic local woman and her amazing contributions to American culture.”  

For detailed information and how to enter the contest, or call Highland instructor Kay Ostberg at 815.599.3533



2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

Fax 815-235-6130