White House Contest Winners: Level V
Check out the winning entries in the 10-12 grade level contest.
Maggie Spring, Worcester, MA
The Oval Office
1600 Pensylvania Avenue
July 4, 1964
Martin Luther King Jr.
I write to you on this Fourth of July with a genuinely jovial demeanor. I congratulate you and commend you for your hard work and perseverance and I share in your joy. Although we can never eliminate all of the bigotry, the progress we have made far eclipses the negativity of the few.
With the passage of the Civil Rights Act, there is a tangible object that symbolizes progress and with it, the struggle that was and is the utmost unjustifiable means. It is significant that I rite to you today on this Fourth of July, two days following the passing of the bill because this holiday is for all that live in the United States and experience its freedom. That freedom has never been enjoyed by African-Americans, that freedom had been taken away and hidden. Not anymore. With this first step in the direction of equality, we are paving the way to a fulfilled yearning for that freedom, that is deserved by all.
Dr. King, you of all people are cognizant that the road to achieving understanding, respect, and equality is by no means easy, but I will do everything I can to ensure that this road is as smooth as it can be.
I am aware that there will be protests, riots, maybe, but I am more than willing to do what I know is right. I know that what is right is to work tirelessly to protect all of the citizens of this country, not just exclusive constituents.
I wish you and your family well, and I will be in touch with you.
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Victoria DeMartino, New York
Today was especially hard. I had gone to school today, Stevens Elementary School, like I had for the past two weeks. The kids are still not becoming nicer; they only gawked at me like the media. Do they think that I like people watching me 24/7 considering that I am the only young child to live in the White House since the early 1960s presidency of John F. Kennedy?
Daddy said to have a couple of friends over, which I did this past weekend. I invited friends over for a slumber party in my tree house and I was beginning to have fun until I realized that there was a Secret Service watching me from below. What do they think is going to happen in a tree house? Even if I were to collapse, they couldn't stop it. I think that their only true purpose is to annoy me.
I miss Georgia and all my friends there. The only friend I had gotten to take along was Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Even though it's great being the president's daughter getting to live in the white house, it's very lonely. No one is ever here and you have to put on a smile everywhere you go, it's almost like others much perceive your life to be perfect, in order to be President.
I really miss the way Daddy and I would spend time together back in Plains, so sometimes I eavesdrop on his meetings and listen in on the problems we are facing. So far, I am very interested in the nuclear arms issue. I feel as though they should not exist and using them would further form hatred between countries. I don't generally like speaking to the public about my views because I am not a politician. I am a young girl trying to stay a normal one. I feel as though the media is using me to get to my father or make up a story to tear up my family.
I want to grow up and be like my dad. I think the reason I get along with him so much is because we both share the love of politics. Right now, I am going to believe in him even though I may not be the happiest child in America, but I know that this is going to make me stronger.
Alexis Fresolo, Worcester, MA
December 7th, 1941
I wish I had never left my French book at my desk. I would have stayed away from the White House until Tuesday, my next scheduled internship workday, but the French final was Monday morning! I needed that book so I took the bus over to the White House and clambered up the stairs to the security bracket. After about half an hour of the security questioning why an unpaid intern was casually showing up to work on the day he wasn't scheduled, they let me in.
I walked the long trek to my small cramped desk and grabbed the prized French book. I literally turn around to leave and saw Helen, President Roosevelt's secretary and my "supervisor," running towards me. She looked completely frazzled, so I asked her if everything was okay. She grabbed hold of my shoulders and told me she needed my help. Of course, I couldn't say no, so I asked her what she needed. She then proceeded to tell me the horrendous news. The Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor, and as we spoke, another wave of Jap planes was running over Hawaii.
I was in complete awe after hearing this, but Helen snapped me out of it. She told me she needed my help in answering the phone and taking down all the news from Admiral Stark. Each time a call would come in, Helen would answer, and write down the message. Then I would have to type each one of those short, awkward, yet profoundly appalling messages fort he President. For the longest time I had wished my internship would get even a tiny bit interesting, but never this interesting! I was typing messages that were going straight to President Roosevelt himself. Every time Helen would hang up the hang up the phone with the Admiral, he would call back. It was absolute pandemonium. Each message I typed up got more appalling. The poor navy men were being absolutely crippled.
At last, the messages slowed down in occurrence and the President got on the phone with the governor of Hawaii. I was then told that my help wasn't needed anymore. Just like that. I picked up my French book with disgust and headed towards the door. I heard hurried footsteps behind me and looked over my shoulder. Helen was running after me. I stopped and turned around and received the most sincere hug I had ever received. She thanked me and was about to say something more but someone was screaming her name because the president wanted her to type something for him. (This ended up being a message for Congress!) I walked outside and started home. It was time to study.
Nevin Varghese, Bloomfield, NJ
It's been too long since I have written to you, my brother. As a mouse living at the White House, life can be quite extraordinary and busy. Recently, President Abraham Lincoln has been plagued with certain national issues. With my investigative skills, I was able to sneak up to the President's office and peek at his papers. I know it was rude, but I was too curious. Luckily, curiosity did not kill the mouse.
Anyway, the document on President Lincoln's table concerned slavery. These papers were titled the Emancipation Proclamation. It talked about freeing slaves from their bondage. I wanted to inform you because I know how much slavery affects you. In a previous letter, I remember you telling me about the hardships that the slaves in your home experienced. I suppose that abolishing slavery through this proclamation is good news for all of the country. However, I cannot stop from wondering what the consequences of such a decision might be.
The country is already torn apart by war, and Lincoln is doing everything he can to stop the current civil war. Years before, he had supported the Corwin Amendment, which prevented the banning of slavery. He had supported this amendment, believing that it would prevent war. However, now that a war has begun, he is trying to hack away at the source of the civil strife, slavery, in order to end it. Lincoln has aged greatly since his inauguration, but I suppose stress is the answer to the aging problem.
Robert, as I write this letter to you, Lincoln is sitting in his study, with his head in his hands, going over various ways to unite this nation. I will keep you informed as I learn more. However, the next time I talk to you will be in a few months, but not through a letter. I will visit in the beginning of next year, but until then, farewell.