2021 Canal Voices Contest

MLK quote on drawing of Paw Paw tunnel
Student artwork submitted in 2016 Contest

A Virtual Contest for students to
celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park



The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is celebrating 50 years (1971-2021) as a national park! Together with the C&O Canal Trust, we are hosting a virtual contest for students to learn about the C&O Canal. Winning projects will receive a scholarship from the park's non-profit partner, the C&O Canal Trust. The Elementary/Intermediate Contest is open to all Grade 3-5 Classrooms. The Middle/High School Contest is open to all Grade 6-12 Students. Winning projects will be announced and showcased on the park website and social media sites. Please read the information below for complete contest guidelines.
New Submission Date: Projects are due May 21st, 2021.
 

Elementary/Intermediate Contest for Grade 3-5 Classes


Teachers, if you're considering entering your class in the Canal Voices Contest, please read the information below. Through this virtual contest, we hope that your class will enjoy learning about the C&O Canal and we can't wait to see the project your class submits! Winning projects will receive a scholarship and a C&O Canal Explorer Backpack filled with fun nature activities that can be used outdoors or in the classroom! Project submissions are due May 21st, 2021.
 

To participate in the virtual contest, an elementary classroom will:

  1. Complete the following lesson: A Journey on the C&O Canal
  2. Complete independent/class research about the C&O Canal. Here are a few suggestions to get started:
    1. Explore Photos, Videos and other Multimedia about the C&O Canal.
    2. Learn about the people that lived and worked on the C&O Canal
    3. Discover nature and wildlife that make the C&O Canal their home
  3. Complete independent/class research about America’s national parks
    1. Explore the National Park Service and America's national parks online
    2. Check out one or more Junior Ranger activities
  4. Prepare and submit a short video (between 3-5 minutes). In the video, students will respond to one of the Topic Questions below:
  • Why is the C&O Canal an important part of our country’s history?
  • What makes the C&O Canal relevant today?
  • Why are national parks important to me?
  • Why is it important to preserve special places and stories?
  • What are 5 interesting facts you learned about the C&O Canal? What are 5 things you would like to do when you visit the park?
A video must be completely original, submitted by an Elementary (Grades 3-5) Teacher and Class. A video must include closed captioning, and a video transcript must be included with the submission. A video will be a length of 3-5 minutes. Winning videos will offer a unique perspective and include multiple student voices, they will demonstrate creativity in verbal and visual content. The video will robustly answer one of the Topic Questions. NOTE: Schools must provide a photo/video release waiver, allowing a video to be shared on the park’s website and social media sites. A video may not include any personally identifiable information.
Winners will receive a $300 classroom scholarship, and a C&O Canal Explorer Backpack filled with guides and tools to explore nature in the park, schoolyard, or from the classroom! Winners will be announced in late-May, and videos will be posted to the park's website and/or social media sites.
Video submissions are due May 21st, 2021 and should be sent by email to the C&O Canal Classroom Education Team at: cocanaleducation@nps.gov. Please include #50thCanalVoices in the email’s Subject Line. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of park rangers and educators from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and winners will be announced June 4th, 2021.

Please contact the C&O Canal Classroom Education Team at cocanaleducation@nps.gov to inquire about the contest. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Middle/High School Contest for Grades 6-12

WHO? Any student in grades 6-12 is eligible to participate.
WHAT? A virtual contest for middle/high school students to learn about the C&O Canal and share what they've learned with others. Students can choose to submit a research paper OR an artistic illustration. Winners will receive a scholarship!
WHEN? Submissions are due by May 21st, 2021. Winners will be announced June 4th, 2021.
WHERE? Submissions will be received by email only.
WHY? In 2021, the Canal Voices Middle/High School Contest aims to highligth the lesser-known stories of African Americans, Women and Immigrants on the C&O Canal. We hope as a result of this virtual contest students will enjoy learning about the C&O Canal's unique history and we look forward to sharing these projects and research with future park visitors!
HOW? The research paper or artistic illustration must be original, unpublished, and completed solely by the student submitting the project. Written projects may include traditional research papers or types of creative writing such as fictional diaries or poems. Artistic illustrations may include painting, drawing/sketching, photography, and graphic illustrations. A project must be based in research and that research must be cited. Specific guidelines are listed below.
 

A winning paper or artistic illustrations will be original, well researched and cited and contribute new knowledge and insights. It will have a unique perspective, demonstrate creativity and be relevant to the past and present. When choosing a project topic, please consider what ways you would like to contribute to the meanings and understandings of the C&O Canal.
Project research topics/themes may vary based on your interests and research. A few suggested themes might include:

  • African American experiences at the C&O Canal
  • The Underground Railroad and the C&O Canal
  • Women and the C&O Canal
  • The Cost of Construction: Immigrant experiences in building the Canal


Each project must include the following:

  • A Cover Page with your name, grade and email address.
  • An Abstract of your paper or artistic illustration.
  • An Annotated Bibliography detailing your research.
  • All typed materials should use size 12 font and double-spaced.
Important Note: Submitting a project gives the park permission to use the research and paper/artwork in digital media (website and social media), publications, and interpretive and education programming with school groups and general visitor audiences.
There will be a first, second, and third place winner for both categories, Research Paper and Artistic Illustration.
Scholarship amounts are $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place.
Submittals will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
The panel's decision will be announced June 4th, 2021.

Research papers can be traditional or feature creative writing styles. All papers must be typed or legibly handwritten in ink on plain, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper with 1-inch margins on all sides. Pages must be numbered consecutively and double-spaced with writing on one side and with no less than 10-point type. The cover page should include: Student name, email address, grade level and school. Submissions must include an abstract summarizing your research and written work.

The text of historical papers must be no less than 1,500 and no more than 2,500 words in length. The 2,500-word limit does not apply to: notes, annotated bibliography, illustration captions, works cited/bibliography, and supplemental/appendix material. Works cited/bibliography are required and should be included at the end of the text in the style (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.) of your choice. Citations are used to credit the sources of specific ideas as well as direct quotations.

NOTE: Oral history transcripts, correspondence between you and experts, questionnaires, and other primary or secondary materials used as sources for your paper should be cited in your bibliography but not included as attachments to your paper.

For artistic illustrations please submit a cover page with 12 font and double-spaced, featuring an abstract summarizing your research and explaining your artistic design. The cover page should include: Student name, email address, grade level and school.

Artistic illustrations must be created solely by the student, and can include painting, drawing/sketching, photography, and graphic illustrations. Artistic illustrations should convey a theme or story about the experience of Women, African Americans or Immigrants on the C&O Canal, and should represent the student's historical research and perspectives.
Please submit your project by email to the C&O Canal Classroom Education Team at cocanaleducation@nps.gov. Please include #50thCanalVoices in the email’s Subject Line.
Artistic illustrations can be submitted by taking a photograph or digital scan of the artwork and sending by email.
All submissions must be received by May 21st, 2021.
Please contact the C&O Canal Classroom Education Team at cocanaleducation@nps.gov to inquire about the contest. We look forward to hearing from you!

Last updated: May 6, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport, MD 21795

Phone:

301-739-4200

Contact Us