Contest asks students to look behind local place names

Contest encourages Washington students to learn more about the history of their community and state

Washington students in grades K-12 are invited to participate in a contest that encourages them to learn more about the history of their community and state. 

The “What’s in a Place Name?” contest through Legacy Washington, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, offers students the opportunity to explore their neighborhoods and identify a sign or label on a public place named after a person, location, or landmark that is part of Washington’s history. 

The contest asks students — or teams of students — to find out how that name fits into the state’s history and reflects their community’s values, and to present their findings in a creative way. 

“‘What’s in a Place Name?’ is for young people who wonder who or what their school or street is named after, or their favorite park, library, or neighborhood building,” said Secretary of State Steve Hobbs. “With this contest we are offering students a fun and engaging way to learn about Washington’s rich, storied history and to make a deeper connection with their communities.” 

More information, including contest rules, helpful resources, and how to enter, can be found on the Office of the Secretary of State’s Primarily Washington website. Entries may be submitted in multiple formats, including — but not limited to — written (essay, poetry, play, zine), visual (painting, photo essay, collage), audio (podcast, song), audiovisual (film, documentary), and interactive (app).

A sample entry can be viewed here 

The entry deadline is May 15, 2022. 

A panel of judges will choose and announce five winners on May 31, 2022.

The winners will receive a $100 grant for their classroom, and winning entries will be posted in a virtual exhibit on the Primarily Washington website.