Contest encourages Washington students to learn more about the history of their community and state

Thursday, February 3, 2022

OLYMPIA — Washington students in grades K-12 are invited to participate in a contest that encourages them to learn more about the history of their community and state.

The “What’s in a Place Name?” contest offers students the opportunity to explore their neighborhoods and identify a sign or label on a public place named after a person, location, or landmark that is part of Washington’s history. 

“What’s in a Place Name?” asks participating students — or teams of students — to find out how that name fits into the state’s history and reflects their community’s values, and to present their findings in a creative way.

The contest is sponsored by Legacy Washington, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

“‘What’s in a Place Name?’ is for young people who wonder who or what their school or street is named after, or their favorite park, library, or neighborhood building,” said Secretary of State Steve Hobbs. 
“With this contest we are offering students a fun and engaging way to learn about Washington’s rich, storied history and to make a deeper connection with their communities.”

More information, including contest rules, helpful resources, and how to enter, can be found on the Office of the Secretary of State’s Primarily Washington website. 

Entries may be submitted in multiple formats, including — but not limited to — written (essay, poetry, play, zine), visual (painting, photo essay, collage), audio (podcast, song), audiovisual (film, documentary), and interactive (app). A sample entry can be viewed here. The entry deadline is May 15, 2022.

A panel of judges will choose and announce five winners on May 31, 2022. The winners will receive a $100 grant for their classroom, and winning entries will be posted in a virtual exhibit on the Primarily Washington website.

About Legacy Washington

Legacy Washington documents extraordinary stories in Washington history. This collaborative venture, spearheaded by Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, relies on original sources at Washington State Library, Washington State Archives, and heritage organizations statewide. The work of Legacy Washington can be found in libraries around the country and museums of Washington.

About the Office of the Secretary of State

Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. 

The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.


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