Oregon Student Essays 2019 Contest and 2017 Web Exhibit

The deadline for submitting entries to the 2019-2020 essay contest has now passed. Thanks to all who submitted essays. The winners will be notified in December.

Enter the 2019 Contest Now!

Portland Rose Festival float
The Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade has lots of colorful entries. What's your favorite local celebration? Enter the essay contest to share your thoughts.
The 2019 Oregon Blue Book Essay Contest for Oregon’s Elementary, Middle and High School children is now open. 
The 2019–2020 Oregon Blue Book theme is "Celebrating Oregon's Local Festivals." Therefore, essays should answer the following question: 

What is your favorite local community celebration, festival, carnival, fiesta, or fair and why? 

Contestants are also encouraged to illustrate their essays with drawings. 

The winning essay(s) and drawing(s) will be printed in the Oregon Blue Book, and the author(s) and artist(s) will be invited to the Capitol for the official Oregon Blue Book release party and celebration in early 2019. 

Send in Your Essay

Submissions must include the student's name, grade, teacher's name, school name and address, and must be mailed — not emailed — to:

Mary Beth Herkert, State Archivist
Oregon State Archives
800 Summer St. NE
Salem, OR 97310
The deadline for submitting entries is October 16, 2018.

Quinton Smith's drawing of rocks, hills, and ocean along the Oregon coast
Island City third grade student, Quinton Smith, drew this picture of a sandy hill at the coast as part of an essay about his favorite Oregon outdoor memory for the 2017 contest.

About the 2017 Exhibit

lake with Mount Hood in the background and stump in the foreground
Many of the essays focus on the scenic beauty of Oregon. Shown here is Timothy Lake with Mt. Hood in the background. (Oregon State Archives Photo) 
Oregonians have a long history of participating in outdoor recreational activities. Oregonians and visitors alike have skied, fished, hiked, boated, biked or camped across our beautiful state. For 2017, the Oregon Blue Book focused on outdoor recreational activities in the Oregon Cascades. The secretary of state encouraged our elementary and middle school students to participate in the second ever Oregon Blue Book essay contest. The 2017 essay questions were:

Elementary School

(75-150 words): What is your favorite thing to do in Oregon’s great outdoors? Describe a fun memory of spending time outdoors in Oregon.

Middle School

(100-200 words): Oregon is a great place to play outdoors. You can camp, raft, ski, hike, boat, surf, or just take a walk. If you have a friend coming to visit you in Oregon who has never been here before, where would you take them for a fun outdoor activity and what would you do?
This exhibit features the winning essays and finalists in each category. The essays are displayed as written. Most are illustrated by images from the Oregon State Archives. 

Note: Some images have been tinted for exhibit purposes.

Choose an essay below or use the Next > option to page through the exhibit.

Elementary school student essays (Favorite Oregon outdoor memory)

Jada Jones, contest winner
Colton Anderson, contest runner-up
Cora Snoke, contest runner-up
Quinton Smith, contest runner-up

Middle school student essays (Oregon outdoor visit for friend)

Soren Nilsen-Goodin, contest winner
Hayes Blackman, contest runner-up
Jake Hale, contest runner-up