Grand opening festivities for the new Minnesota State Capitol are planned for the weekend of August 11-13 this summer. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the State Capitol Grand Opening Planning Committee have announced an essay contest for Minnesota students.

Students are asked to write an essay on the topic of what the State Capitol Building means to them, to Minnesota's history and what the Capitol means in regards to Minnesota's future. Winners will be invited to share their essays during the celebration in August.

Judging categories will consist of students in Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. The winner in each category will also receive a $1,000 Minnesota College Savings Plan. The Minnesota College Savings Plan is a 529 account that helps families save for future higher education.

Each essay needs the student's name, school, home address, phone number and current grade on the front page. Essays should be 250 words or less. Middle and high school entries must be typed in a 12-point font, double-spaced on white 8.5 by 11-inch piece of paper. Elementary students may hand-write their essays.

Send your essay to:

Minnesota Department of Administration
c/o Kathy Morgan
50 Sherburne Avenue Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55117

You may also email them to capitol.essays@state.mn.us. Entry deadline is April 28.