Past Defenders Contest for Students

The Red River Gorge is home to hundreds of archaeological sites and other cultural resources that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. One of the goals of Living Archaeology Weekend is to foster respect for cultural resources and promote public stewardship of the archaeological record. To help us reach that goal, since 2011 the LAW Steering Committee has sponsored an essay contest that asks students to consider the issues surrounding cultural resources protection and preservation. The contest theme this year asks students to consider a real-life archaeological site protection situation in the Red River Gorge

The archaeological sites in the Red River Gorge need people who care. People who think these places have value. People who will protect and preserve them. The sites need Past Defenders! For LAW 2017, the Steering Committee invites students who attend the LAW event to participate in the Past Defenders Contest in one of three ways. They can submit

a handwritten essay of between 300-500 words (as in previous years)

or

a poster or a color photograph accompanied by a 100-word handwritten caption

or

a 3- to 5-minute video accompanied by a 100-word handwritten explanation.

(Left) LAW Steering Committee members Gwynn Henderson (left) and Wayna Adams (right) present Hannah Brooks with a certificate in recognition of her 2011 award-winning essay. (Right) Gwynn Henderson presents Mrs. Tonya Sain with a set of Kentucky archaeology DVDs at the pizza party in 2011 for Hannah Brooks and her classmates.

The 2017 LAW Past Defenders Contest submission deadline is Friday, October 20, 2017. The contest winner(s) will be announced on this web page by late November. The award for the winning student  is a framed certificate; an autographed copy of Kentuckians Before Boone, a book that describes prehistoric farming lifeways in central and eastern Kentucky from the Kentucky Archaeological Survey; a small, non-monetary gift from the Daniel Boone National Forest; and a small monetary gift from the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists. The award for the winner's class is a pizza party.

​2011 In the inagural Living Archaeology Weekend Student Essay Contest, Hannah Brooks, a fifth-grade student at Menifee Elementary School in Frenchburg, Kentucky, received the award for Best Essay. Hannah received a certificate and other prizes in recognition of her accomplishment. She won a pizza party for her class in December and a complete set of Kentucky Archaeology Video Series DVDs for her social studies teacher, Mrs. Tonya Sain. Click here to download Hannah Brooks' winning essay. Congratulations, Hannah!

National Register site in the Red River Gorge: turtle petroglyph that inspired the LAW logo.

Meet Our Student Contest Winners!

2012 The Living Archaeology Weekend Steering Committee is pleased to announce that Andrew Rodriguez, fifth-grade student at Glendover Elementary School in Lexington received the award for Best Essay in the Living Archaeology Weekend Student Essay Contest. Andrew received a certificate and other awards in recognition of his accomplishment. In December, Andrew and his classmates enjoyed a pizza party. His teacher, Mr. Youngdo Lee, received a complete set of Kentucky Archaeology Video Series DVDs. Click here to download Andrew Rodriguez's winning essay. Congratulations, Andrew!

(Left-Top) LAW Steering Committee members Wayna Adams and Eric Schlarb present Andrew Rodriguez with a certificate in recognition of his 2012 award-winning essay. (Left-Bottom) Mr. Youngdo Lee's fifth-grade class enjoys a pizza party in celebration of Andrew's winning essay. (Right) LAW Master Teacher Youngdo Lee with a prize of educational Kentucky archaeology videos.

2013 The award for Best Essay in the 2013 Living Archaeology Weekend Student Essay Contest is Olivia Ruth Short, fifth-grade student at Wellspring Homeschool Community in Waco, Kentucky. Olivia received a certificate and other awards in recognition of her accomplishment. Olivia and her classmates enjoyed a pizza party in November. Her teacher, Mrs. Kimberly Short, received a complete set of Kentucky Archaeology Video Series DVDs.

 

In her essay, Olivia discussed what she saw and learned at the event and how that informed her perspective on preserving cultural resources. Her observations came from the heart. The judges cited two of her statements as particularly insightful and full of imagery: ". . . because every step we take forward we need to take a look back and learn from others' mistakes" -and- " . . . learning about the past is like walking down a beautiful road with knowledge trees." Olivia aspires to be a writer and an archaeologist in the future, and she is off to a great start! Congratulations, Olivia. Click here to download Olivia Ruth Short's winning essay.

(Left) LAW Steering Committee members Eric Schlarb and Gwynn Henderson present Olivia Ruth Short with a certificate in recognition of her 2013 award-winning essay. (Right) Olivia's classmates enjoy a pizza party in celebration of her winning essay.

In the caption to her drawing, Brooklyn wrote "Red River Gorge is a beautiful and natural place in nature. It'd be extremely disappointing if the future generations couldn't see it. . . . But you can make a difference! Stand up!" Hooray! Congratulations, Brooklyn! Click here to download Brooklyn's winning entry.

In her essay, Dezirae wrote "The Red River Gorge is a historical site where children from all over the state of Kentucky come and learn, while having a good time. It's a site where archaeologists come to hang out, teach, and discover new artifacts. . . . We need the Red River Gorge to explain to future generations how Indians lived. We want them to have the experience we did." Right on, Dezirae! Great work! Click here to read Dezirae's winning entry.

2016 There are two award winners in the 2016 Young Stewards Student Contest! Dezirae Diaz was selected from among the written essay entries, and Brooklyn Everman was selected from among the student poster/photograph entries. Both are students in Mrs. Tonya Means' fifth-grade class at Menifee County Elementary School.

 

Each contest winner received a certificate, a bookstore gift certificate, and other awards in recognition of her accomplishment. Dezirae, Brooklyn, and their classmates enjoyed a pizza party in December. In addition to a bookstore gift certificate, Mrs. Means received the Kentucky Archaeology Survey's award-winning Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky's Fields and Streets DVD and the Rock Art of Kentucky book by Fred Coy, Thomas Fuller, Larry Meadows, and James Swauger.

LAW 2016 student contest winning poster

Brooklyn Everman's winning LAW poster.

 

The award for the teacher is a set of Kentucky Archaeology Video Series DVDs: Volume One: Ancient Fires at Cliff Palace Pond, The Adena People: Moundbuilders of Kentucky, and Saving a Kentucky Time Capsule; Volume Two: WPA Archaeology: Legacy of an Era; and the award-winning Volume Three: Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky’s Fields and Streets. The Kentucky Heritage Council and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey developed this series. Each episode examines a unique aspect of the Commonwealth's archaeology with a blend of interviews, artifacts, rare archival images, and video of ancient American Indian sites and historic sites in Kentucky.

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Last Updated 3 September 2019