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