Essay Contest

Mayor Christiansen's Essay Contest

Open for Capitol and Caesar Rodney School District Students

Charter, Parochial, and Homeschooled

4th - 12th

Theme - Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer

Essay Guidelines

Annie Jump Cannon was an internationally known astronomer who was born in Dover, Delaware in 1863. She lived on State Street and first looked at the stars with her mother on the rooftop of her home which was recently listed on the historic register of historic places. Annie worked at Harvard and she and her associates are the subject of a book entitled The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel, a New York times best selling author. Annie is one of Dover's most famous residents. She was an accomplished musician and was also deaf. She died in 1941 and is buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Dover. Ms. Sobel will be visiting Dover in December to help celebrate Annie's birthday. This is a chance for participants in the essay contest to meet her and their school to receive a book.

The essay Guidelines are as follows:

Contest is open to all student from 4th to 12th grade in CR or Capitol School districts, including Parochial, Charter, and Homeschooled students.

Writing Prompt

Annie Jump Cannon was once called the “census of the sky” due to her extensive research in astronomy and her innovative classification system of the stars which is still used today in the field of astronomy. Annie also contributed to the women’s suffrage movement and in 1929 was listed as one of the twelve greatest living American women by the National league of women voters. Despite popular acclaim, Annie endured hardships such as becoming deaf at an early age and defying gender expectations of her time. In a short essay, explain how Annie’s hardships inspired her to rise above her circumstances and pave the way for the women of her time. Additionally, explain how Annie’s life story has inspired you to rise above your unique circumstances and pursue your dreams. Make sure to draw parallels between your life obstacles and that of Annie Jump Cannon.

Essay length

4th - 5th graders - 200 - 400 words

6th - 8th graders - 500 - 1000 words

9th - 12th graders - 750 - 1200

Essays should be:

  • Double spaced
  • Include reference notations
  • Completed as assigned by teachers if being done as a class assignment

Be mailed no later than June 30 to City of Dover Attn: Kay Sass Mayor's Essay Contest City Hall Dover DE 19901

If you have any Questions, please contact Kari Ebert by email or phone. All entrants will receive a certificate from the Mayor and awards will be given at a special ceremony at the Old State House in Dover Delaware on December 8

Annie Jump Cannon

Annie Jump Cannon was born on December 11, 1863 in Dover Delaware. A renowned astronomer, known for creating the system that to this day, we use to classify stars. Throughout her career, she was given many awards and honors such as being the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate at Oxford University, the Henry Draper Medal, have a lunar crater and asteroid named after her, and many more. She also had an award named in her honor - the Annie Jump Cannon Award- which the American Astronomical Society gives out every year to the best woman astronomer. She gradually lost her hearing until she was profoundly deaf, but could read peoples’ lips.

In a time when few women attended college, she attended several, such as Wesley College, Radcliffe College, and Wellesley College, one of the top schools for women in America. Due to the relationship and close proximity to Radcliffe College, she had access the Harvard College Observatory and was hired as an assistant at the Observatory. She finished her studies and received her masters. She Identified more than half a million stars in the galaxy and could classify 3 stars a minute just by looking at the spectral patterns. Her work was extremely accurate.

She is featured in The Glass Universe by D

Lunch & Learn Sampler Series Dates:

Lunch and Learn Sampler Series is presented each week by Parke Green Galleries as a way to introduce you to a variety of art techniques.
The series is free to the public and is held here on the Green each Thursday at noon. Topics cover mostly art and history related themes of general interest.
Samplers are presented by talented, knowledgeable presenters who enjoy sharing their passion and expertise to participants to expand their appreciation and understanding of topics presented. Feel free to bring your lunch, we will provide water. No reservation needed, call (302) 674-1787 for more information. Our presenters may be available to speak at your club or function, please ask us!
Womens’ History Month
* March 3 - Maria Liberto Bessette - Historic Floor Cloths
* March 10 - Linda Chatfield - “Chinecollé”, a layered paper process
* March 17 - N. Taylor Collins - Women of Dover - Iconic Annie Jump Canon & others
* March 24 - Sandy Duncan Lewis - Iris paper folding - egg shapes
* March 31 - Jan Crumpley - iPhone Photography basics (not for Android users, only Apple iPhone!)
National Poetry Month
* April 7 - N. Taylor Collins - Collage a Poem or Quote
* April 14 - Jan Crumpley - Hand lettering a favorite Quote
* April 21 - Jennifer Cordova - How to make Chalk Paint
* April 28 - Thomas Smith - Stories of The Green #IBelieveInDover
Old Dover Days Month
* May 5 - Jan Crumpley - Architectural Details of The Green
* May 12 - N.Taylor Collins - Plein Air Memories about Jack Lewis
* May 19 - Winifred Way - Taking the Fear Out of Commissioning a Painted Portrait
* May 26 - Linda Chatfield - Watercolor Botanicals
Parke Green Galleries • 331 S. State Street • Dover, Delaware •