White House Contest Winners: Level IV
Check out the winning entries in the 7-9 grade level contest.
Rebecca Twinney, Pittsburgh, PA
From the Journal of Jacqueline Kennedy
November 23, 1963
Grey wandered its way into he crowd's cloudy eyes. The rain had ceased, leaving the fallen leaves and soil damp. The white mansion loomed overhead, foreign and deserted. I had once decorated it with my cultural taste, indulged in the architecture and ancestry. Looking up at it, vision foggy, it wasn't home. I couldn't' imagine John stalking down the paneled porch or the gardens surrounding the grounds. I couldn't imagine cool nights, looking out the window on the Capitol, where men and women alike, had died to give us freedom. I could imagine the great men who had perished for America. I couldn't understand that my man was one of them.
Cameras lit America's tear stricken face. My cheeks were puffy, my hair sticking in clumps to patches of wet. The black dress matched the dark sky behind me. Flashes marred the darkness. The only silver lining to the cloud that was raining on my once-perfect life was my children. Caroline and John Jr. stood still by my side. Their matching pale blue coats stood out against the sea of black. The mourning band in Caroline's hair sent shivers down my spine. The air stung my checks, the dried salt residue tingling. John looked small in the large wooden coffin. His hands looked cold, his skin a pale green. He was covered, but I remembered. The memory clawed at the back of my mind. The feelings, still so strong, burnt my throat.
First, surprise. I had thought, having been used to parades, that the shots were fireworks. Then, horror. I watched, eyes wide, the bullet enter and exit. It was over. I couldn't prevent my husband's death. God knows, I would have. Before my eyes, he collapsed, pierced. Desperate, I screamed. His hand went limp I mine as they rushed him to the hospital. His eyes glazed over, and I knew that not only had the President died, but so had my world.
My three-year-old sons gentle squeeze on my gloved hand brought me back, to a new kind of pain. As he saluted his father, I detached myself from the overwhelming pain of loss, to the overcoming pain of moving on.
Vivek Gorijala, Herndon, VA
April 30, 1789
Today I was elected unanimously to become the first president of the United States of America. It is a great honor, but I would still rather retire to my plantation, Mt. Vernon. If allowed my way, I would not be sitting here as President. However, it is my duty to serve the United States, and for that reason I will stay.
As President, I will not interfere with foreign nations. This meddling could bring about the end of our nation. As a result, I suggest to all of our lawmakers that we engage in neither binding treaties nor long-term alliances. These alliances and treaties could pull us into unnecessary foreign wars, resulting in the pointless deaths of many Americans. Nonetheless, trading for goods internationally and domestically would still be beneficial to the growth of our nation, so we cannot afford to halt those types of activities. For these reasons, we need to trade within the states and outside our borders, but not meddle with the affairs of other countries.
My fellow countrymen insist on calling me titles that induce the thinking that I am majesty. I hope that they do not call me these titles, for I am not majesty. I am not a king, singlehandedly controlling an entire country; I am also not a dictator. Those are the very principles that our democracy rejects. I am merely a public servant, serving the country I fought for. I do not wish to be called these titles-a simple "Mr. President" will do. The 1st United States Congress proposed a salary of $25,000 a year. I am not deserving of this salary. Again, I am only a public servant. However, I do not want to give the perception that only wealthy men can become president, so I will accept this salary.
The United States must stick with the principles that helped found it- liberty, the pursuit of happiness, equality, democracy, and the many others. Without these, it cannot hope to survive. However, with these, it will become a prosperous nation where all can realize their dreams.
Mikaela O'Connor, Naples, FL
It seems to have been a lifetime since we have spoken. I miss you dearly. I am writing to you from the side of a hospital bed. Not to worry, Richard and I are in perfect health. However these war victims, unfortunately, do not appear to be so. Here in France, the patients coming in seem to be increasing by the day. The poor folks conditions don't appear to be improving much either. This war is certainly taking its dreadful toll. Every day Richard comes home with more stories about injuries. Of course, I have some stories of my own. Here at the Red Cross we seem to be receiving the worst of it. The poor soldiers bless their souls. Don't take my tone the wrong way though, as upset as I am about the people, I still love volunteering here sincerely. The looks on the patients shining faces when I can help to make them comfortable, even in the smallest way, is enough to keep my spirits up.
I hear the war is making an impact at home, near you in the United States. I'm sure you're still keeping everything in order as best you can. You always have. How is all of the family? I heard from mother last month. She said that everyone has grown up so much that I just wouldn't believe my eyes. I can't wait to see you all again. Hope all is well with you. Have you gone on any of your adventures with Kermit lately? He always did love to brag about those. My, I miss his wit. Well, my husband, Richard, and I will be home soon enough; just as quick as this war will let up. Give my best regards to mother, my brothers, and everyone else back home. I miss them all. Hope to hear back from you soon. You are never far from my thoughts and I am very homesick for you all.
Your Dearest Ethel Roosevelt
Alahna Ingrid Kindred, Naples, FL
February 16, 2235
Dear Mr. President,
Following our recent orbital lunch I wanted to take this opportunity to update you with the developments of the Y2.2K technology projects.
As you recall, since the beginning of the millennium, or the Rusty Age, we have been testing the idea of "hovering". Now, over two hundred years later, we have made hovering possible for individual hoverers and families alike. The Rusty Age proved that internal combustion was impractical to use. Today, we have proven that we can use "magnetic levitation".
This idea is simply to use an underground grid where magnets are buried a few meters below the surface. Upon this invisible foundation the hoverboards and hover cars have been tried and tested meeting all of the Y2.2K environmental and transportation safety standards.
For hoverboards, you are given "crash proof bracelets" which help control your balance and board. Hovercars do not require crash proof bracelets because they are too large to be supported with the help of the bracelets. Instead, we have bungee jackets which work the same way.
With your approval, magnetic levitation will become our primary means of transportation. The roads that the Rusties used can be given back to the community now allowing more room for forestry restoration. This idea is also energy efficient. Not only do we have invisible grids but these new vehicles can be solar charged and the wars over oil and petroleum will come to an end.
The other technology I have to introduce is the eyescreen. These were first tested as glasses, but now we can surgically insert them over your eyes and attach them to your brain. Basically, the eyescreen is a screen of information that you can receive by just plain thinking it. The data feed is also attached the ears (to add audio data), jaw (voice commands), and fingers (gestural control).
The Rusties came up with a prototype that just showed information on an LED screen. Now, we have a far more advanced type. You can view movies and TV shows, surf the internet, communicate with people, and use as a tracker device or GPS.
As you can see, excuse the pun, these well advanced technologies are truly beneficial to our society. We will once again be world leaders of technology while creating domestic employment.
With this in mind I look forward to receiving your confirmation to go ahead with these projects.
Head of the Technology Department
Hans Guthrie Myers, West Springfield, PA
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
11 April, 1865
My dearest son,
I write you today to remind you of your promise to come and visit us before returning to the New England region. Your mother is absolutely all of a bother over your continued absence from our supper table here, and Tad has lost Fido again. O Robert, you do your poor mother harm each day with your lingering absence. I myself wish to see you, and to hear your tale of Appomattox, and the goings on there, as Tad and I were in Richmond, and Genl. G. has not yet arrived in Washington.
The city is abuzz with celebration, and there is to be a grand illumination on Thursday, the 13th. It is my fervent wish you be here for it, as your mother and I wish not to be the sole attraction of the crowd. Your mother is pestering me to go to the theater on Friday evening, and I do not much wish to go, however, if your mother is a tenacious as ever, I suspect I shall be found in a box seat Friday. Although, as the idiom goes, "Never swap horses while crossing the stream." I do so hope to see you before Friday, although I fear I shall not.
Your loving father,
Notes from Hans:
Robert Todd Lincoln, eldest son of Abraham Lincoln, was a captain on the staff of Lieut. Genl. Ulysses Grant, and was present at Appomattox (See "Genl. G.")
Fido was the name of the pet dog of the Lincoln family, and Tad was reported to have lost the dog on the 10th of April, and recovered him on the 12th.
This letter is an inference, as after Mary Todd Lincoln's admittance to the Mental Ward in the 1870's, Robert burned most every piece of writing from his father that he could get.
Coincidentally, it was the 11th that Lincoln had the dream he recounted to his Cabinet.