Steelworker retirees (SOAR) chapter plans essay contest, awards banquet


Illinois Correspondent

Granite City, IL – This year’s 2019 high school graduates related to members of the Steelworkers’ Organization of Active Retirees group may compete for scholarship money in an essay contest on Saturday, April 13. The annual scholarship and awards banquet is planned for Aug. 12.

Those eligible are any member of a high school class graduating between Jan. 1 and July 1 who is also the son or daughter, grandchild or great-grandchild of a SOAR member. Current members and their legal wards are also eligible.

The number of scholarships and their amounts will depend on the success of the group’s fund-raising efforts. Last year, they awarded five $2,000 scholarships.

Those entering must turn in an application form with the high school principal’s signature by Saturday, April 6. The topic this year is “The Social and Economic Impact of the Rising Costs for Higher Education.”

“The essay will focus on the out-of-control costs to attend two- and four-year college courses, and the impact of students saddled with heavy debt for loans following their graduation,” said Jeff Rains, president of SOAR Chapter 7-34-2. “Each essay should focus on why the costs are so high and possible solutions to resolve the burden of student debt.”

For copies of the rules and application, contact Rains at (618) 452-1130 or

The essays will be written at the Tri-Cities Labor Temple, 2014 State St., Granite City. Students must write at least two pages and can take all the time they need. The writing begins at 9:30 a.m. Writers may not bring articles, books, computers, cell phones, tablets, essays, notes, outlines or reference material.

The essay contest and awards banquet are named in honor of Jane Becker, a Labor leader, political organizer and St. Louisan who was one of the originators of SOAR and the wife of former United Steelworkers President George Becker. She died in 2013 at age 80.

Winners of the essay contest must attend the awards banquet. Tickets are $20, $35 for a couple or $115 for a table of six. Contributions will also be accepted. The luncheon will be at Neighborhood Social Club, 4168 State Route 162. SOAR volunteer awards will be presented.

Ads in the luncheon program book range from $50 for a quarter-page to $250 for a double full-page. Contact Dennis Barker at (618) 660-5193 for more information.


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