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The Buffalo News and Roosevelt Site team up for student editorial cartoon contest

Editorial cartoonists had a field day when Theodore Roosevelt occupied the White House.

As the 23rd annual Buffalo News Editorial Cartoon Contest draws near, The News will partner with the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site to present the awards.

"Teddy Roosevelt was one of America's favorite presidents to caricature, and there are thousands of cartoons out there on his presidency," said Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News editorial cartoonist. "Many of the issues TR championed are relevant today, so incorporating them into the contest teaches students the importance of our past and the cyclical nature of history."

Stanton Hudson, the Roosevelt site's executive director, said the National Park site's educational work fits well with the goals of the contest.

"One of our most popular school programs is called "Roosevelt the Reformer," and it presents students with a political cartoon of the Roosevelt era with a related historic quote [and other material]," Hudson said. "It's really right in line with what The News does with its editorial contest."

The contest includes three categories – fifth grade, sixth through eighth grades, and grades nine through 12.

There is also a Best Local Cartoon for a topic related to Western New York, for grades five through 12.

In addition, there is a new TR Site Informed Citizen Award, open for grades five through 12. It must be on any of the following issues that were big in Roosevelt's time and that remain so now: immigration, the role of the U.S. in global affairs, race and social inequities, big business and labor, or environmental conservation.

Students may submit up to three cartoons – one for their grade, one local and one in the Informed Citizen category. A minimum of 15 prizes will be awarded, with $150 for first prize, $100 for second prize, $75 for third prize and $25 for honorable mention. Winning cartoons are also published in NeXt, the Thursday Buffalo News section for teens.

Official entry forms, which are required, and contest instructions are at BuffaloNews.com/editorialcartooncontest.

The contest deadline for submissions is April 28.

The June awards ceremony will be held at the Roosevelt site – the former home of Ansley Wilcox, where Roosevelt was sworn in as president following the assassination of President William McKinley.

Zyglis, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, will judge the contest.

"The contest is a great way to get students interested in, and even excited about, current events and civic issues," Zyglis said. "The task of creating a cartoon requires critical thinking, problem solving and free expression all at the same time. It's also a great tool for teachers."

Hudson said the prize money for the TR Site Informed Citizen Award will come from $20,000 set aside from sales of a book, "Theodore Roosevelt, An American Hero in Caricature," by the late J. David Valaik, a longtime board member and Canisius College history professor.

"In conjunction with our educational mission, we hope to encourage greater civic awareness, understanding and participation, especially among young people," he said.

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