Memorial Day Essay Contest 

There is a saying that says “Home is where your story begins…”. Our memories, made as children, are essential to developing civic pride, and a love for country and community. Who can forget the sights and sounds of a magnificent parade and the hustle and bustle of a town-wide festival? Students in Kindergarten – Grade 5 have been invited to participate in the annual essay contest. Waterloo’s unique heritage, and the influence that our founders have had on the rest our country and all citizens, is remarkable! This contribution, originating from our “Home”, is something to honor and be proud of. While participating in the contest, students will learn about and make a personal connection to Memorial Day. 

Each grade has a specific task that has been designed with grade levels and skills in mind while addressing the historic importance of Memorial Day in Waterloo. Student work will range from mini-posters to written essays.

Our youngest students will address the “what, when, why and how” of Memorial Day using pictures and words. Older elementary students will read historic documents and respond to a writing prompt. Judges will select two winners from each grade level. Winners will receive prizes and recognition during the Memorial Day weekend celebrations. 

Middle School students will have an opportunity to participate in the creation of an assembly for their peers. The assembly will be designed to inform, engage and inspire. Students will research, assemble documents, pictures and videos , create stage props, and write original poetry and dialogue to design a presentation aimed at understanding of the sacrifices of our nation’s service members, both past and present, honoring the contributions of our community’s founders, and promoting civic engagement and participation in government and Memorial Day events.  

High School students will be invited to join community members in service to the annual Celebrate/Commemorate committees. There are many opportunities for students to gain leadership, organizational, and technical skills, and create life-long memories, while working side-by-side with dedicated professionals, all with a common goal –  to remember the work of our town’s founders, and ultimately, to honor the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives for our country. 

Deadline for entries is May 10. Contest materials and additional details for K-5 are available from classroom teachers or by contacting Lisa Sessler ( Any Middle School/High School questions can be directed to Janelle Bradshaw (

All winners of the contest will receive a Celebrate Commemorate t-shirt.  In addition, winners in grades 3-5 will receive $25 and will be recognized during the Memorial Day weekend. 

The contest is sponsored by the Celebrate Commemorate Committee, Waterloo Education Foundation, Waterloo Non-Structional Employees Association, Waterloo Library & Historical Society,  Waterloo Retired Teachers, and Mac’s Drive In.