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Letters from the White House writing contest

Letters from the White House

2009 Letters from the White House Writing Contest

[This contest is now closed]

We have our winners!

We were thrilled that more than 1,500 students from all over the country sent in letters or journal entries for our Letters from the White House creative writing contest. These students explored the history of America and tapped into their own creativity by imagining and writing about the experience of living or working in the Executive Mansion.

Séances in the Red Room, a ladybug in the punch, and a ticklish rug in the Oval Office are just a few of the things to look forward to reading in the winning entries.

Click on each level below to view the winning entries.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Level I (PreK and K):

  • Grand Prize Winner:
    Arya Sasne, age 5
    Princeton, NJ
  • 1st Runner Up:
    Jordan Grabelle, age 4
    Voorhhees, NJ
  • 2nd Runner Up:
    Janet Jakubowski's Kindergarten Class
    St. Agatha School
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Honorable Mention:
    Lauren Muckle, age 6
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Honorable Mention:
    Tobias John Ham, age 5
    Sheffield, VT

Level II (grades 1-3):

  • Grand Prize Winner:
    Dillon Lacorte, grade 3
    Philadelphia, PA
  • 1st Runner Up:
    Skyler Kiernan, age 8
    Bayside, NY
  • 1st Runner Up:
    Emily Lehman, age 7
    Lansdowne, PA
  • 2nd Runner Up:
    Mary Kate Wheeler, grade 1
    Philadelphia, PA
  • 2nd Runner Up:
    Joy Xu, age 9
    Frederick, MD

Level III (grades 4-6):

  • Grand Prize Winner:
    Kaitlyn Claire Albertoli, grade 6
    San Clemente, CA
  • 1st Runner Up:
    Gabrielle Marie D'Annunzio, age 12
    Largo, FL
  • 2nd Runner Up:
    Bryce, grade 4
  • Honorable Mention:
    Tony Donaldson, grade 6
    Washington, DC
  • Honorable Mention:
    Sidney Brooke Foster, grade 5
    Satellite Beach, FL

Level IV (grades 7-9):

  • Grand Prize Winner:
    Rebecca Twinney, grade eight
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1st Runner Up:
    Vivek Gorijala, age 13
    Herndon, VA
  • 2nd Runner Up:
    Mikaela O'Connor, age 14
    Naples, FL
  • Honorable Mention:
    Alahna Kindred, age 14
    Naples, FL
  • Honorable Mention:
    Hans Guthrie Myers, age 14
    West Springfield, PA

Level V (grades 10-12):

  • Grand Prize Winner:
    Maggie Spring, age 17
    Worcester, MA
  • 1st Runner Up:
    Victoria DeMartino, age 16
    New York
  • 2nd Runner Up:
    Alexis Fresolo, age 18
    Worcester, MA
  • Honorable Mention:
    Nevin Varghese, age 15
    Bloomfield, NJ

Thank you to our judges!

Our thanks to our esteemed and knowledgeable judges, Lynda Johnson Robb and Betty C. Monkman, who selected our prize winning entries!

Lynda Johnson Robb is the elder of the two daughters of United States President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife Lady Bird Johnson. She served as First Lady of Virginia from 1982 to 1986 and as Second Lady of Virginia from 1978 to 1982. Children's literacy is a strong interest of Mrs. Robb's and she serves on the Board of Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's largest children's literacy organization and the Advisory Board of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance.

Betty C. Monkman, White House Curator Emeritus, worked in the White House curator's office beginning in 1967, and served as curator from 1997-2001. She planned and curated the first exhibition on the White House in 1992 and has written numerous articles on White House decorative arts and several books including Treasures of the White House and The Living White House.

Don't you love getting letters? Everyone does, but nobody's writing anymore. Letter writing is an art that may soon be lost to texting and e-mail.

Introduce young readers and writers to one of the most personal and meaningful ways to communicate with Letters from the White House. This national creative writing contest encourages students in grades PreK through 12 to explore the useful arts of letter writing and journaling, take a look at the history of our country, and tap into their own creativity when they imagine and write about themselves as having a role in a past, present or future White House. Contest resources for educators and parents can help make this a fun and meaningful project for the classroom, after school program or for families at home.

To enter the contest, students can write and submit either a letter or journal entry about an imagined or researched experience of living or working in the White House. For example, students may:

  • Submit an entry of historical fiction writing as a President or as a member of a First Family of the past, such as Woodrow Wilson, Abigail Adams, or Amy Carter.
  • Research the variety of staff and volunteers who spend time working at the White House and write a letter or journal entry as a White House chef, a member of the Secret Service, or a White House volunteer.
  • Imagine a future White House and write as the 50th U.S. President or the White House hovercraft driver.

This national creative writing contest encouraged students in grades PreK through 12 to explore the useful arts of letter writing and journaling, take a look at the history of our country, and tap into their own creativity when they imagine and write about themselves as having a role in a past, present or future White House.

Certificates and Prizes

We want to acknowledge the wonderful work of all the students who participated in the Letters from the White House contest. Please feel free to download and print an official Certificate of Participation.

Letters from the White House certificate

Grand prize winners will receive:

All prize winners will receive a personalized certificate from Reading Rockets, mailed to their home or school.

Letters from the White House is presented by Reading Rockets, AdLit.org, and the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) in celebration of Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, the NCBLA's critically acclaimed publication about American history.

Contest resources

Writing and Letter Writing

Bring back the enthusiasm for letter writing that we've witnessed throughout history! Theodore Roosevelt wrote more than 150,000 letters during his lifetime. John and Abigail Adams exchanged more than 1,100 letters. Mamie Eisenhower added her own personal touches to the replies to the 700 letters she received at the White House each month. Share some real letters from history:

Classroom Resources from Reading Rockets

American History Resources

Students will be sure to find inspiration in the poetry, stories, illustration, and information in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. And at www.ourwhitehouse.org, the companion website to the book, educators and parents will find useful information and historical resources to help students with research.

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