What is the Tacha Freedom Award?
Deanell Reece Tacha, Retired Judge with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, served as the founding Chair of the Board of Trustees of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) from 2004-2010. To honor her work, the FFNHA board has established an award that will engage students in grades 8-11.

The Award is intended to be a way to help students learn about the issues, ideas, people and events that contribute to the themes of FFNHA. The Award is to be a cash prize given to high school student(s) in grades 8-11 residing in or attending school in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area based upon a winning scholarly/creative work that relates to the history of the area and the themes of FFNHA.

What are the themes of FFNHA?
Freedom’s Frontier is a “story ecosystem” defined by the history that unifies the region. The overarching theme of FFNHA is Freedom. Each of the three sub-themes connects to the ideal of freedom and clearly states why the area’s resources and values are important enough to warrant federal designation of the area. The main sub-theme is the Missouri Kansas Border War, consisting of interpretations of the years of uneasy balance established by the Missouri Compromise leaving the territory’s
future slave status in the hands of settlers and ushering in the Civil War. Additional sub-themes include Shaping the Frontier, interpreting this place where river travel ended and traders, miners, and emigrants began the long overland treks beyond Missouri’s western border, pushing Native American populations aside in the process, and the Enduring Struggles for Freedom, interpreting stories of this place that has inspired national policies and ongoing efforts to secure equal freedoms for all Americans. 

What is a National Heritage Area?
The United States Congress designates a select few regions in the nation where significant national stories have taken place. A heritage area links historic and cultural sites within that region by telling a unified story that attracts visitors, educates citizens, stimulates economic opportunities, and preserves the important themes of the locale. These heritage areas begin Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage as local initiatives, which are ultimately authorized by Congress and administered by the National Park Service.

What is Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area?
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area was authorized by Congress in 2006. FFNHA consists of willing partners from throughout the 41 counties in western Missouri and eastern Kansas that guide the planning and execution of heritage area projects. The work of FFNHA is coordinated by a minimal staff working with partners throughout the area. It is the only entity in the area focused on regional coordination of these nationally important stories. Partners, working through task forces and committees, are represented on a bi-state Board of Trustees. More information can be found by reading through the planning documents and management plan, or by contacting Executive Director Jim Ogle by e-mail at jogle@freedomsfrontier.org.

Who are the judges and how does the process work?
At the local level, a team of historians, educators, and others interested in history and education will be invited by FFNHA Partners to serve as judges. Judges will assign each entry an overall rating and consult with each other to determine the entry to be forwarded to the FFNHA Board of Trustees. The FFNHA Board of Trustees will also invite a team of historians, educators, and others interested in history and education to assist in judging submissions from the Partner process to determine the ultimate winners. The decision of all judges is final.

What are the criteria for evaluation?
60% Historical quality The student should make sure the entry is historically accurate. The entry must follow one of the       principles of FFNHA that balanced perspectives of a story/situation must be respected and presented. Analysis and       interpretation of the historical data is expected rather than simply a description of the historic event/person. Primary        sources should be used.
20% Relationship to one or more of the FFNHA themes The entry should clearly state the relationship to one or more of the       Freedom’s Frontier themes and explain how this topic influenced history and why it is important. It should put the topic in  context with the social, economic, political and cultural aspects of the time period.
20% Effectiveness and clarity of the presentation Originality and creativity in presenting the topic will be important as well as grammar, spelling and organization of the entry. If the  entry is a performance, display of stage presence will be judged.

Guidelines for Participation
  1. *Theme - The entry must relate clearly to the overarching theme of FFNHA and/or the
subthemes and explain its significance in history.
* Only one entry per person each year is permitted.
*An individual entry must be the work of only one student. Groups will consist of 2 to 5
students and all students in a group must be involved.
* Contest entries must be original work
*Assistance from teachers and parents must be limited. Guidance for research, analysis and
entry organization or construction is permissible, but all conclusions and entries must be the
student’s work. For participating students with IEPs, necessary modifications as outlined in their IEP
are permissible.
*Presentation must be set up by the student.
*Student must supply all equipment for the competition including computers, projection
screens, DVD players including extension cords, etc.
*The entry should be able to stand on its own without any additional comments. Students
should be prepared to answer questions judges may have for clarification.
* Required written materials. Students should provide a description of how the entry was
researched and created and how it relates to the FFNHA theme(s) for each entry. This paper
should be a page in length. An annotated bibliography is required. The bibliography should
indicate whether sources were primary or secondary. The style for citations or bibliographic
references should be consistent throughout all written materials.
*All entries may be documented by FFNHA and shared on their website or in any other
media. Student entrants and their parents (if student is a minor) will be asked to sign a
standard publicity waiver that allows FFNHA to use the students’ name, image, likeness,
photograph, audio and/or video recordings, submitted work without compensation. 

Guidelines for Entry Type
Papers can be fictional or non fictional. Essays, fictional diaries, fictional short stories, and poems are all examples that would fall into this entry type. Papers should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words long. This word limit does not apply to footnotes, endnotes, illustration captions, bibliography, or other supplemental material. All supplemental material must be directly related to the text. Supplemental material could include photographs, maps, charts, and graphs. Students should cite their sources in footnotes, endnotes, or internal documentation. Papers should be typed or computer printed on letter sized paper with 1-inch margins. Pages should be numbered with double-spaced 10-12 point text.

Exhibits should be no larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high. Rotating exhibits must be no more than 30   inches in diameter. Any recordings or other media should not last more than 3 minutes and the devices they run on  should fit within the size of the exhibit. All images or primary documents should have a brief citation. Performances should be no longer than 10 minutes. Performances must be of original scripts, written, produced, and performed by the entrants. Multi-media displays are permitted but must be run by the entrants. Costumes are permissible and should be designed or chosen by the students.

Documentary Videos should be no longer than 10 minutes. Students should produce the entries as well as provide the narration, voice-over, and dramatization. Only the students listed as entrants may participate in production. Any  professional photographs, film, slides, recorded music or other works not produced by the students must be given proper credit in the video and in the bibliography. All videos must have a brief list of credits for sources and other acknowledgements.

Graphic Novels should be no longer than 8 pages, including a cover or introductory panel. Graphic novels can convey either a   strict interpretation of the historical event or a fictionalized account. Fictionalized accounts should be plausible and fit within the historical context. Page size should be no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. All original artwork and text should be completed by the students. Historical images or primary documents may be incorporated into the graphic novel, but should have a brief citation. There is no word or panel limit, but students should ensure that words are large enough to  be easily read. 

Other Artistic Works (Performance: Song, Dance) should meet all requirements of the performance category. Performances must be original song or dance, written, choreographed, and performed by the entrants. Songs can include some pre-recorded tracks (accompaniment). Dance can use music not created by the entrant. Students should submit with their work a 250 word essay that relates their artistic performance to the historical event.

Other Artistic Works (Visual: Painting, Sculpture, Photograph) should meet all the requirements of the exhibit category. Students should submit with their work a 250 word essay that relates their visual art to the historical event. 

Tacha Freedom Award Informational Packet
Tacha Informational Poster
Tacha Freedom Award Application

For Further Information:


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