Newport Historical Society

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?”

What’s the prize for successfully recognizing the power of change? Tickets to the hit Broadway play 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.

“When I meet young Rhode Islanders, I’m consistently impressed by their passion for making a difference in our state,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Hamilton has made our country’s history accessible and fun to people of all ages, but especially for our younger generation. This essay contest is a great opportunity for students to think critically about our state’s future—and, of course, potentially see this amazing show on Broadway. I’m looking forward to reading and being inspired by these essays.”

Education has been a major focus of Governor Raimondo’s administration since she took office in 2015, and she knows the important place that essay writing can play in a young person’s intellectual development.  The Governor holds a “Governor for a Day” essay contest for girls in grades 5-8. The winner is ceremonially sworn in as Rhode Island’s Governor for a Day and spends time with the Governor and other state leaders to learn about state government and the importance of civic engagement.

The Newport Historical Society’s essay competition is open to Rhode Island tenth grade students who are enrolled at a public high school, or other tuition-free school, 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