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Rhode Island High School Students Celebrated at the Statehouse

High School students from across Rhode Island were celebrated at a recent event at the Rhode Island Statehouse for their essay entries to the Newport Historical Society’s contest, Writing your Way to Hamilton: Big Ideas for a Changing World.

Rhode Island has been a place of many firsts – innovation runs deep in the Ocean State. Last fall the Newport Historical Society challenged Rhode Island’s high school sophomores to imagine the future by thinking about the past. Students were asked to be inspired by Rhode Island’s history and write an essay describing what is happening or could happen in their communities that might change the world.

Submissions from all five of Rhode Island’s counties focused on several broad themes, demonstrating the deep concerns of young people in our state: the environment and energy; tolerance and diversity; the value of community; economic development; and the state of their education and educational experiences. Writers reflected the diversity of our state, were male and female, and represented (as the contest required) public, charter, and other non-tuition schools. All of the essays were thought-provoking, and from them the judges selected ten winners from across Rhode Island who will head to NYC to see the award-winning Hamilton, An American Musical. Hamilton is an appropriate prize, as it represents individuals, many of them quite young, who allowed themselves to recognize that the world was changing and to think in new ways, and thus helped move that change forward and establish this great nation.

The students who wrote winning essays are:

Mary Breen, Classical High School
Rebecca Carcieri, Toll Gate High School
Emily Gorman, Barrington High School
Genevieve Laprade, North Kingstown High School
Mollie McGrady, Narragansett High School
Callie Rathbun, North Kingstown High School
George Saban, North Providence High School
Sophia Smerkar, Coventry High School
Athena Vieira, East Bay Met School
Sam Wohlever, Barrington High School