San Jacinto College Wins Big At Prestigious Caldwell Competition


Photo courtesy of JoNeita Kelly/Adult Education Program Coordinator, Texas State Historical Association

San Jac student Jeffery Hallinan receives his award from TSHA Director of Operations and Education Steve Cure.

The competition at San Jacinto College is heating up again, and District Honors Program Director Eddie Weller is ready. So begins another round of the highly coveted Caldwell Competition that acknowledges the best of college students and their skills as writers and researchers.

According to Weller, the competition is an event that honors the finest college student research papers in Texas. This year’s event took place in March in Corpus Christi with San Jac student Dirk Johnston winning first place. The event will continue with a second division of students, which includes a presentation from past winner AJ Carillo at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, taking place at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. in early April.

Weller said this specific competition is relevant to the College because it recognizes students’ hard work and perseverance.

“This shows that our students are among the best,” Weller said. “Last year, two students were among the four winners. Two were published and one, AJ Carillo, was asked to deliver his paper at the Texas State Historical Conference’s (TSHC) annual meeting this year.”

Furthermore, Weller said the Caldwell Competition is not to be taken casually. Rather, it is important for students to be recognized statewide for their academic achievement and have the opportunity for their work to be possibly published by TSHC.

Likewise, Weller said celebrating extraordinary writers is important for any college, since writing is the vehicle through which knowledge is passed on.

“What these students do is, in fact, an addition to the history already known,” Weller said. “It is original research and writing that historians will look at for generations in many cases.”

Similarly, history professor Marcus S. Turner said the contest is relevant to the College because it prepares students, particularly those majoring in history, with a glimpse into the world of academic research and writing.

“It is important for the College anytime we can celebrate the success of a student,” Turner said. “Certainly students enter the College with all types of academic goals.”

Turner is a mentor for Jeffery Hallinan, who placed third for his paper, “The ‘Cowboy’ of Pasadena, Texas: The Origins Behind the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo and Its Relevance Today.”

Additionally, Turner said, the event not only recognizes fantastic writing but also showcases students’ efforts.

“I think it demonstrates that any student who is willing to commit themselves to an academic goal can accomplish that goal through hard work,” Turner added. “Jeff (Hallinan) spent an extraordinary amount of time researching and writing his essay.”

Ultimately, Weller said the competition is a great way to celebrate students’ accomplishments each year.

“It’s a way of rewarding great research and writing,” Weller said. “These papers all started as in-class assignments. They just did them extremely well.”