opinion Newport Rhode Island

During the 2017-2018 academic year, high school sophomores have the chance to enter a unique essay competition sponsored by the Newport Historical Society. This writing contest, entitled Big Ideas for a Changing World, asks students to explore the question, “What is happening now in your community, or what could be happening, that has the power to change the future in Rhode Island and potentially the world?”

Rhode Island has been a place of many firsts. What will come next? Catherine W. Zipf, Providence Journal columnist, wrote about the 2016-2017 essay contest. “As the students observed, Rhode Island’s history is rich with moments of change, from pioneering religious tolerance to embracing industrialization. These moments had winners and losers, as well as visible and measurable outcomes. Their history can guide present-day actions toward better future results.”

“To produce the desirable changes,” one 2016-2017 essay winner wrote, quoting the federalist Alexander Hamilton, “may therefore require the incitement and patronage of government.” This student’s engagement with Hamilton’s words while thinking about current issues demonstrates the relevance that history offers to young people today.

What’s the prize for successfully recognizing this powerful change? Tickets to the hit Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical, including a meal and transportation to/from New York City. Two student winners from each Rhode Island county will be selected. Teachers who sponsor this competition in their classes and have an award-winning student essay will be invited to join the trip.

The essay competition is open to Rhode Island tenth grade students who are enrolled at a public high school, or other tuition-free schools, during the 2017-2018 academic year. Entries must be emailed or postmarked by March 15, 2018. Winners will be announced by April 5, 2018, and the prize trip will take place May 12, 2018. For submission guidelines, judging criteria, and to see winning essays from 2017, visit www.NewportHistory.org.

About the Newport Historical Society

Since 1854, the Newport Historical Society has collected and preserved the artifacts, photographs, documents, publications, and genealogical records that relate to the history of Newport County, to make these materials readily available for both research and enjoyment, and to act as a resource center for the education of the public about the history of Newport County, so that knowledge of the past may contribute to a fuller understanding of the present. For more information please visit www.NewportHistory.org.