Dear Editor:

Next year marks a milestone in Schuylkill county's history with the celebration of our 200th birthday! Bicentennial festivities are beginning and the Board of Schuylkill County Commissioners wanted to inform the public of opportunities for young people to help make our celebration memorable, educational and fun.

Students from throughout Schuylkill County can participate in contests offered by the Schuylkill County Bicentennial Education Committee - a subcommittee of the Bicentennial Steering Committee. Information is now being distributed about these contests that feature a three-tiered approach to student involvement. Each contest is a special way for young people to gain more awareness and appreciation for Schuylkill County.

Students from Kindergarten to grade 4 can color Schuylkill County landmarks on worksheets that were created specifically for the Bicentennial by Pottsville artist Nanette Brophy-Major. Middle school students can design a brochure with the theme, "Things to Do in Schuylkill County." A video contest is in store for high school students who can use one of three themes: "The Positive Aspects of Schuylkill County" or, "Challenges That Affect Our Community and How to Address Them" and finally, "A Day in the Life of a Compelling Person in Our Community."

These initiatives would not be possible without the support from our neighbors in the community including: Hidden River Federal Credit Union, Wal-Mart Supercenter 2535, Heisler's Cloverleaf Dairy and Schuylkill County VISION. Prizes will be awarded at each level and all winners will become part of the history of Schuylkill County.

We have much to be proud of and that includes a heritage of mining and farming, the purchase of the very first automobile in America by a Port Carbon resident, the founding of cable television, our first place statewide status in Christmas tree and potato production, and so much more! Please join us as we continue to make history right here in Schuylkill County.

The Board of Schuylkill County Commissioners cordially invites students from public and parochial schools, in addition to home-schooled students, to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event. As 2011 approaches, we also encourage the public to enjoy the many activities and events planned to make this a celebration that you will remember in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Manatura M. Gallagher,commission chair

Francis V. McAndrew, commissioner

Frank J. Staudenmeier, commissioner