Julie Agard
assistant professor, Department of Teacher Education, 308.865.8556

Entries for the 15th annual Nebraska Handwriting Contest, open to all Nebraskans, are being accepted now through March 31, according to Julie Agard, University of Nebraska at Kearney Teacher Education faculty member.

“The contest is open to all Nebraska residents to promote legible handwriting as an effective means of communication,” Agard said.

Conducted by the UNK Department of Teacher Education, the contest is endorsed and supported by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska State Education Association, with prizes sponsored by Follett’s Campus Bookstore in Kearney.

Prizes, $25 gift certificate for first place and $15 gift certificate for second, will be awarded. Competition is divided into four categories: ages 12 and under, ages 13-16, ages 17-49, and ages 50 and over.

Participants copy official text for their age group. For rules and texts to be copied, participants can send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Nebraska Handwriting contest, Attention: Julie Agard, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Teacher Education, Kearney, NE 68849. Those who wish to receive results of the contest should include two (2) self-addressed stamped envelopes. The rules and texts are also posted on the Internet at: http://www.nsea.org/ andhttp://coe.unk.edu/contest
The Nebraska Handwriting Contest was created in 1991 by Tom Hutson of Red Cloud in memory of his mother Eva.



Administered by the University of Nebraska at Kearney, endorsed by the Nebraska
State Education Association, and the Nebraska Department of Education, with prizes sponsored by

The fifthteenth NEBRASKA HANDWRITING CONTEST will be held in early 2005 to promote legible handwriting as an effective means of communication. Any Nebraska resident is eligible to participate, with prizes being awarded in four categories: ages 12 and under, ages 13 – 16, ages 17 – 49; and ages 50 and over.


1. The text provided on this page should be written in any of the various styles of cursive handwriting rather than printed. Each performance of writing will be judged as a whole according to ease of reading. The writing should feature not only a fluent rhythmic movement but also a technically correct performance of specifications such as the slope, space, size, and shape of the letters. The goal of the work is disciplined freedom of movement.

2. The competitor can choose the paper and the writing instrument to use as long as the paper is 8 1/2″ X 11″. The general layout of the entry (choice of margins and line spacing) will be taken into account along with overall neatness.

3. Only one entry may be submitted by each competitor. The competitor must write his or her name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address on the back of the entry, indicating age as of February 1, 2005. Students should also write the name and address of their school and the name of their teacher. Note: teachers, please submit only the top three or four entries from your class after your own local judging.

4. Entries may be submitted anytime after March 1, 2005, but must be received no later than March 31, 2005 at: NEBRASKA HANDWRITING CONTEST, Attention: Julie Agard, University of Nebraska at Kearney, College of Education, Kearney, NE 68849. All entries become the property of the Nebraska Handwriting Contest and will be retained with the right to use them in full or in part in exhibitions and/or publications.

Follett’s Campus Bookstore of Kearney, Nebraska, will provide Nebraska winners a First and Second Place Award for excellence in penmanship in each age category.

First Place – $25 Gift Certificate
Second Place – $15 Gift Certificate

Prizes to be awarded solely on the recommendations of the judges.
Award winners will be announced to the press and posted on the website by April 30, 2005

– In memory of Eva Hutson –


Text for Competitors Age 12 and Under:

The Proud Fir Tree

One day a fir tree and a thorn bush were arguing. The thorn bush was angry because the fir tree was singing its own praises. “I am tall and handsome and will be used for building such important things as church roofs and ships.”
“But think of the sharp axes and saws that will cut you,” replied the thorn bush. “Then you’ll wish you were more like me.”

Moral: Do not be proud of your beauty; it may be your downfall.

An Aesop Fable

Text for Competitors Age 13 and Over:

The Best Years

If they turned in early, they had a good while to enjoy the outside weather; they never went to sleep until ten o’clock, for then came the sweetest morsel of the night. At that hour Number Seventeen, the westbound passenger, whistled in. The station and the engine house were perhaps an eighth of a mile down the hill, and from far away across the meadows the children could hear that whistle. Then came the heavy pants of the locomotive in the frosty air. Then a hissing—then silence: she was taking water.

On Saturdays the children were allowed to go down to the depot to see Seventeen come in. It was a fine sight on winter nights. Sometimes the great locomotive used to sweep in armoured in ice and snow, breathing fire like a dragon, its great red eye shooting a blinding beam along the white roadbed and shining wet rails. When it stopped, it panted like a great beast. After it was watered by the big hose from the overhead tank, it seemed to draw long deep breaths, ready to charge afresh over the great Western land.

By Willa Cather