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Highland presents Jane Addams’ Essay Contest

Highland Community College is hosting the 2018 Jane Addams Essay Contest. Students in Stephenson County from high school to college are invited to submit an essay about Jane Addams by April 26 to Highland judges.

Jane Addams is best known for establishing the Hull House in 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 the more than 150 settlement houses subsequently built in America. Regular events were hosted at Hull House which attracted well-known artists, authors, musicians, academics, feminists, politicians, and reformers to study and emulate its work.

Addams was born in Cedarville, Ill. in 1860 and died in 1935. She is buried in the Cedarville Cemetery. She was the eighth of nine children born to an eight-term Illinois state senator. Her father also ran a mill in Cedarville, was President of Freeport Second National Bank and counted President Abraham Lincoln as one of his friends. Jane Addams received her Bachelor of Arts 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 Community College is hosting the essay contest to make sure the moral and practical lessons from Addams’ life continues to be remembered and explored. Students in Stephenson County who participate will learn about this inspiring, charismatic local woman and her contributions to American culture.

Participants will discuss how Jane Addams’ pacifism came from her belief in pragmatism and why it damaged her reputation from World War II and after.

The essay contest is open to all Highland students with a 1,750-2,000 word essay written in their own words and presents in MLA format. There is an award of $350 for the best college essay.

The contest is also open to all high school students in Stephenson County with a 1,250-1,500 word essay written in their own words and presented in MLA format. The winning essay will receive $250 for the best high school essay.

All work must be submitted by April 26 and e-mailed to Kay Ostberg at

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

Fax 815-235-6130