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Irish Center seeks essays for annual contest

The Irish Cultural Center at Elms College announces its ninth annual writing contest for seventh and eighth grade students. Entrants are asked to write a two-page, typed, double-spaced essay comparing two sacred sites of Ireland. Students are asked to include on a separate page their names, addresses, telephone numbers, schools, grades and teacher's names. On March 6 prizes will be awarded to the three top essays: $100, $75 and $50. Send entries to the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College, 291 Springfield St., Chicopee, MA 01013 by Dec. 18. Ireland is a country that maintains sacred sites as diverse as Newgrange and the Rock of Cashel; Croach Patrick and Skellig Michael; the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock and one of the holy wells. These are a few examples; there are many more. People from all over the world visit sacred sites yearly. What draws them? What makes the sites alike? And how are they different? Writers will explore these places in Ireland and learn some of the history of the country as well. Over the years we have received many papers each year where students have addressed diverse topics: how to work for peace; the importance of one's ethnic background; a comparison of the Famine with hunger in our world; and what friendship means. Writers have included students from both public and private schools in the area, as well as home schooled youngsters. Entries have been submitted from as far west as the Berkshires and in the east from Belchertown and Ware. The Irish Cultural Center at Elms College conducts the writing contest in order to raise awareness of some aspect of Celtic culture, not only among the student writers, but also for teachers and parents. The target audience includes children of all ethnic backgrounds. We hope that this year's topic will encourage research into the treasures of Ireland. Entries are due Dec. 18 to the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College at the above address. Flyers have been sent to local schools. For further info call Sister Judith Kappenman at 265-2537 or e-mail her at irishcenter@elms.edu. For further information on the center go to www.irish-cairde@elms.edu.

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