BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Historic Genealogical Society is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing in Plymouth with a statewide essay contest.

It’s open to all Massachusetts students grades 5 through 12. They can be in public, private or parochial schools or home schooled.

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Students will pick one of these three questions to answer in their essay:

  • How is the story of the Mayflower still relevant today?
  • How does your family’s journey to America compare to the journey of the Pilgrims in 1620?
  • As a native student, what does your tribal history mean to you?

Cash prizes will be awarded to all six winners. Three from grades 5-to-8 will receive $500 and the three winners at the high school level will get $750.

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“The stories of our ancestors affect our identities and who we are and our collective identity, who we are as a country. You can learn a lot about your present situation and maybe even the future by looking back and looking at history’s lessons,” the society’s Director of Education, Ginevra Morse, told WBZ-TV. “It’s evident the themes are still very much relevant today – immigration, exploration, innovation.”

The deadline to submit the essay is June 10th. Winners will be announced in August and will present their essay at special events in Boston later in the year.

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Essays can be submitted at