Daniel Lanigan, age 10, is a finalist in Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s writing contest titled Save Texas History for his story on a local legend, Rudolph the Red Nosed Pumping Unit. Daniel is a fourth grader at Brandon Elementary, and his social studies teacher, Mrs. Lorraine Dorman, recommended him along with other classmates to participate in the contest.

Mrs. Dorman said, “This is actually the first time I have ever heard of the contest; I gave the information to several students encouraging them to participate, but Daniel ended up being the only one of my students to enter the contest.”

Daniel said, “I wrote about Rudolph the Red Nosed Pumping Unit at Lufkin Industries and how if it was removed, there would be much disappointment for Lufkin and the surrounding areas. It was an expository.”

The topic for the expository was “What History in your Community is Worth Saving?” Daniel said he got the idea about the pumping unit from Aidan Cox, a high school student who was in the attendance office where his mom works. He titled his story “It’s Christmas Time in Lufkin, Texas”.

He said, “It took about two days to write. Editing, grammar, spelling, making sure it was 450 words, took about two weeks.”

Mrs. Dorman said, “Daniel is an incredibly hard working student who enjoys challenges and can always be counted on to go above and beyond what is expected. I knew he would be interested in the contest because he has a great love for the history of Texas and is very enthusiastic about Texas history. Daniel is an exceptional student, and I am very proud of him for taking the initiative to enter the contest and being one of the finalists in the state!”

For being a finalist, Daniel received some impressive prizes (shown in the pictures below). He won a Texas flag that was flown on August 15th over the most northern part of the original state of Texas, which Daniel said is in present-day Wyoming. He received a $100 Visa gift card (he doesn’t quite know how he wants to spend it yet). He won a beautiful ornament, a Texas calendar, an 1835 replica map of the Republic of Texas and a bullet/musket plaque.

When Daniel is not writing about history, he’s playing basketball and baseball (his favorite), participating on the Ambush swim team and Boy Scouts. He wants to attend Rice University and become an architect who designs bridges.

Daniel’s essay is listed below. To find out more about the contest, click here.




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