Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission Names 2018 Junior Historian

Congratulations to Hunterdon County’s 2018 Junior Historian, Christian Ventura of High Bridge Elementary School, selected for writing the best essay in the contest sponsored annually by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.  Second place honors went to Austin Fritz, of Tewksbury Elementary School.

The 2018 competition drew 81 entries from seven school districts and one home school. Awards were presented by J. Matthew Holt, Freeholder Director of the Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Carrie Fellows, the Commission’s Executive Director. The awards ceremony took place in the historic Hunterdon County courthouse in Flemington during the May 15 meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Essays are submitted by third or fourth grade students in participating schools, according to which grade level studies local history. In order to be entered into competition, essays must describe a historic place, and source citations are required.

The Grand Prize winner, Christian Ventura, received a gift card for $100, a certificate, and a trophy designating him as the 2018 Hunterdon County Junior Historian. His essay, “The Taylor-Wharton Steel Company” described the history, local, regional and national significance of the company, the families who owned it, and the types of products it produced. His teacher, Mrs. Lynn Hughes, was recognized by the Commission and Board of Chosen Freeholders; her class’s essays exemplified the type of research and understanding of historic places the Commission hopes students will gain through this program.

County Second Place winner Austin Fritz received a gift card for $50, a certificate and trophy. Austin’s essay, “The General Store in Mountainville” described the community gathering place and how it has served in various ways since it was built in the mid-19th century. Austin is a fourth grader in Mrs. Wilkinson & Ms. DeGrau’s class at Tewksbury Elementary School.

First Prize winners in the participating districts were presented with a certificate and a First Place medal. Five Second Place certificates and medals were also awarded, and seven Honorable Mention certificates were presented. All entrants received a Certificate of Appreciation. Winning essays were selected by a panel of members of the Retired Teachers Association. Photographs of the winners and  downloadable copies of the top two essays may be viewed at the County’s website:

PHOTO: Junior County Historian 2018 Christian Ventura(L), and Austin Fritz, County 2nd Place (R).

The Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission supports and develops programs to promote interest and participation in, and understanding of local arts, culture, history and historic events.