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The Gov. Thomas Ford chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) is accepting entries for its annual American history essay contests that are open to all Ford County students.

For fifth- through eighth-graders, the theme is “Voyage of the Mayflower.” This year’s topic marks the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of the Plymouth Colony in 1620. Students are to imagine they are one of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower. From a child’s perspective, they are to describe their two-month voyage while using historical facts.

For high school students, this year’s topic is “A Sailor’s Experiences as Part of Christopher Columbus’ First Expedition to the Americas.” In an 800-to-1,200-word essay, students are to describe their impression of Columbus and their perception of the purpose of his first expedition. They are to detail the places and people that were encountered and the significance of the discoveries made.

Essays will be judged on historical accuracy, originality, spelling and grammar.

Both contests are open to all students who attend a public, private or parochial school in Ford County, or those who are homeschooled in the Tri-Point, Paxton-Buckley-Loda or Gibson City-Melvin Sibley school districts.

Entries must be received by Friday, Nov. 29. For guidelines and more information, students can contact contest chairman Carol George at 847-855-9036.