Jane Addams Essay Contest

HCC is proud to announce the 2017 Jane Addams Essay Contest. Addams was born

in 1860 in Cedarville, IL and was raised there, died in 1935 in Chicago, and is buried

in Cedarville Cemetery. Her beloved father owned a mill in Cedarville and conducted business in the surrounding area, including Freeport. Later in life, Addams’ work was centered in Chicago, but she often returned to Cedarville. The Cedarville Historical Museum is dedicated to displaying artifacts and information about Addams’ life and work.

Students in Stephenson County from first grade to college are invited to submit an essay about Jane Addams by April 30, 2017.  Five awards will be given to winning essays – one for each of five grade ranges. Teachers will also receive an

award for having participating students. The contest is intended to promote literacy and increase student knowledge of an internationally known local hero.


Topic and Awards

About Jane Adams



Field Trip


Submit Entries

Contact Us


Lead Sponsors

HCC Student Senate and Student Activities

Other Sponsors

 Office of the President; Humanities, Social Sciences and Final Arts Division;

Global Task Force; and the LGBT Pride Club


Topic and Awards

Topic: Discuss how Jane Addams' pacifism came from her belief in pragmatism and democracy, and why it destroyed her reputation from World War II moving forward.

Winning high school student - $250 award

Winning Highland student - $350 award

Books are available at the Freeport Pubic Library and the Clarence Mitchell Library at Highland Community College to help with this essay including Twenty Years at Hull House by Jane Addams, Jane Addams Spirit in Action by Louise W. Knight, and Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy by Jean Bethke Elshtain.  Numerous articles can be found on the internet.


Gift Certificate of $10 for each teacher with students entering the contest.
Honorarium of $50 for each winning student’s teacher.



 The essay contest is open to all students currently enrolled at Highland Community College or a Stephenson County high school.

 Highland student essays must be between 1,750 and 2,000 words. High school student essays must be between 1,250 and 1,500 words.

 Entries must be postmarked or email dated by April 26, 2018 and only one entry per student will be accepted.

 All essays must be the original work of the student whose name is listed on the submission form.

 Entries are the property of the writer but may be used by Highland Community College to publicize the
contest and winning submissions.

 Two judges from Highland Community College and two judges from Stephenson County high schools will select one
winner in each category. .

Submit Entries

Download and print the entry form.

About Jane Addams

(Text adapted by Julie Johnson from Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams and the foreword written by Henry Steele Commager)

Hull House

Founder of Hull-House in Chicago, first president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1931, Jane Addams was a crusader for social justice, a dedicated American who devoted her life to caring for the underprivileged and the oppressed and to fighting for the rights of workers, women, and children. She was born on September 6, 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois.

After receiving her A.B. degree from Rockford College in 1882, she entered the Woman's Medical College of Philadelphia. Illness compelled her to give up her studies. In 1887, on one of her many trips to Europe, she observed the social experimentations at Toynbee Hall in London; this led to her decision to establish a similar center in Chicago, where she could put her social principles into action. Her tireless work with reform groups resulted in improved housing, education, and working conditions — a better way of life for her Chicago neighbors and for people all across the land.

A delegate to the first national convention of the Progressive Party in 1912, Jane Addams gave campaign speeches on the social justice planks of the platform, and seconded the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt as presidential candidate. In 1915, she founded The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Jane Addams' concern for humanity is reflected in her writings: Democracy and Social Ethics (1912), Newer Ideals of Peace (1907), Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910), The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (1930), The Excellent Becomes the Permanent (1932).

In 1931, Miss Addams was co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and characteristically enough she donated the prize money to the Women's Peace Party. She died in Chicago on May 21, 1935.

For more information:

About Hull House:        www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/jane-addams/  

General Biography:     www.alu-c.com/jane-addams


Field Trip - Cedarville Historical Museum

Cedarville Historical Museum
Cedarville Area Historical Society
PO Box 336
Cedarville, IL 61013

Stephenson, Region: 4
450 W 2nd St

May-Oct: Saturday-Sunday 1-4 p.m. and by appointment 
$3 Suggested Donation

Local history collection featuring items, documents, and photos dealing with Cedarville native Jane Addams.  Education programs conducted each season. February lunch, Memorial Day picnic, Jane Addams festival in September, and Christmas Sing-a-long in December

Jim Bade, President



Contact Us

For more information, please email or call:

Kay Ostberg

English and Philosophy

Highland Community College



Andy Dvorak

History and Political Science

Highland Community College




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