November 15, 2013 | Leave a comment This annual Lincoln event is sponsored by Springfield’s Sister City of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Japan. With the financial backing of an independent committee composed of representatives of the Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Superintendent of the Board of Education, and business members of the Chamber of Commerce, there is an annual Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address Speech and Essay contest. The contest is open to all Ashikaga students from junior high to age 20. Students compete in two categories: delivery of the Gettysburg Address in English and writing of a short essay relating the concepts found in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to an issue in the 21st Century. The grand prize winners (five students are selected and they travel with two chaperones) receive all-expense paid trips to Springfield, IL (via Chicago) to present the Gettysburg Address in the Hall of Representatives of the Old State Capitol on the anniversary of Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address, November 19. To honor the accomplishments of the students, The Honorable Masaharu Yoshida, Counsel General of Japan at Chicago, will participate in the Ceremony. Also participating are Ashikaga School Superintendent Hiroshi Takagi, Springfield Mayor Mike Houston, Lincoln Home National Historic Site Historian Tim Townsend, IHPA Historic Sites Division Manager Aly Grady, and Sister Cities Association of Springfield President Janet Kenney.