Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Norma Santiago proclaimed last Tuesday’s as “one of my favorite meetings of the year.” That signifies that it is “very high on the cha-cha scale.” In its 20th year, the annual map contest for El Dorado County school students is sponsored by SAGE, the local association of Surveyors, Architects, Geologists and Engineers. Simply put, every kid in the county is given the opportunity to create a map of their own choosing (within certain guidelines). From kindergarten through high school, the competition is traditionally fierce between three or four schools, Miller’s Hill and Latrobe are perennial winners, and Edwin Markham usually makes its mark as well. This year Markham had 231 entries.
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Jean Pinotti, principal for the two Latrobe schools noted that her students typically do their maps during their winter break to be ready to submit by the end February. Between the two, they brought home 19 winning ribbons this year.
SAGE President Mike Preszler announced that over the 20-year history of the contest, the organization has awarded more than $50,000 in prize money. First place winners receive $75; second, $50 and third place $25. Based on the effort and palpable enthusiasm they show, one would be hard pressed to imagine the students are doing it for the money.
Students from kindergarten through second grade may choose to map their home, yard or school, and there were representations of “Maggie’s Yard,” Lake Forest Elementary School,” and several titled “My Home.”
Third graders map their “Community.” One winning entry showed all the locations on the western slope where someone could do their recycling. “California” is the topic for students in fourth grade, and entries included curiosities like the state’s “Mountain Passes.”
Grades 5 through 8 feature “U.S.A.” “World or a portion of the World,” and “USA,” respectively. “Any region of your choice” is the topic for ninth graders. Tenth goes back to “World or a portion of the World.” The “USA” is again the subject for students in the 11th grade, while high school seniors get to choose “Any Region of your choice.”
“Baby Animals of the U.S.” “Plates of the States” featured license plates from all 50. A map plotting the locations where American ships were sunk during World War II. Coffee Consumption around the world. “Routes of the Vikings” showed the travels of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Vikings from the 8th to the 11th centuries, identified by different colors.
Three maps are recognized in an Open Category and anyone between kindergarten and 12th grade is eligible to participate. Two of the four requirements in the Open Category are:
“You are only limited by your imagination;” and “Try something different, break all the rules.”