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State Capitol Grand Opening Essay Winners Named

Three Minnesota students will read their winning essays at the Capitol Grand Opening Celebration on August 11

7/14/2017 11:03:20 AM

Saint Paul — Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and the State Capitol Grand Opening Planning Committee today announced the winners of the Minnesota State Capitol Essay contest. Nearly 300 Minnesota students in grades 3-12 submitted essays about what the State Capitol Building means to them, to our state's history, and to our shared future. The winners will share their essays at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the State Capitol Grand Opening Celebration, Friday, August 11. 

“We received thoughtful, well-written essays from hundreds of students across Minnesota. Choosing just three winners was difficult. I want to thank all the students who took the time to share what our Capitol means to them,” said Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith. “I encourage all Minnesotans to join us for the State Capitol Grand Opening to hear from our essay contest winners and participate in all the celebration events planned for August 11-13.”

The winners in the three age categories are:

  • Grade 3-5: Hope Anderson, Homecroft Elementary School, Duluth, Grade 3 
  • Grade 6-8: Victoria Viteri, Buffalo Community Middle School, Buffalo, Grade 6 
  • Grade 9-12: Margaret Kleiman, Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson, Grade 11 

“The restoration of the Minnesota Capitol was to prepare the building to serve future generations of Minnesotans,” said Administration Commissioner Matt Massman. “How fitting that these future leaders will kick off the State Capitol Grand Opening Celebration by reminding all of us that the State Capitol is not merely a beautiful building, but also the center of decision-making that has shaped our past and will shape our future.”

Winners in each category will receive a $1,000 Minnesota College Savings Plan, sponsored by the University of Minnesota and TIAA, the financial services company that manages the Minnesota College Savings Plan. The Minnesota College Savings Plan is a 529 account that helps families save for future higher education expenses.

Essays were judged by Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, Administration Commissioner Matt Massman, Senator Carla Nelson, Representative Mary Murphy, and former Administration Commissioner Dana Badgerow.

Capitol Grand Opening – August 11-13: The Capitol Grand Opening Celebration spans three days with the theme of “My MN Capitol.” Festivities kick off on Friday, August 11 with yoga on the Capitol lawn, a ceremonial ribbon cutting, a Prince dance party, a Hotdish Panel series with insight from Minnesota leaders, and special “behind the scenes” tours of the restored Minnesota State Capitol.  Saturday events include a free concert on the Star Tribune Stage by Minnesota headliners Lizzo and Poliça, sponsored by The Current, and an extended fireworks show. On Sunday, join Classical MPR for “Bring the Sing on the Capitol Green,” a community sing-along event, and meet the individuals who restored the Capitol to its original beauty at the Capitol Worker’s Appreciation Celebration.

For more information about the essay contest and the Capitol Grand Opening Celebration, please visit:

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