American Essay Contest

Inspired by the PBS documentary American Creed, this writing contest and presentation asks young writers to examine the question, “Who gets to be counted as ‘American’ and why?” The contest is open to students at Pawling High School as well as homeschooled students, who are encouraged to view the film at for inspiration.

All participants will have the opportunity to read their essays at the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association program, with a discussion led by Dr. Robin Lester, author and former headmaster of the Trinity School in New York City.

Juror: Thomas Walogorsky, editor of The Pawling Record.

$100.00 cash prize will be awarded for 1st place.
$50.00 2nd place.
$25.00 3rd place.

Deadline for submitting essays: March 23, 2019, 11:59 pm.

Essays must be emailed to the Pawling Library. Please send your essays in a Word Document to Donald at

In the subject heading of the email please write: American Essay Contest.

Be sure to enter your name in full and your grade. Essays may be up to 500 words.

Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 13.

Readings, discussion and awards will take place at the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association on Saturday, April 27, 2:00-5:00 pm.

All winning essays will be published in The Pawling Record.

Have a voice in your community. Let your words be read and heard.

Please join us by participating in this program.

About our speaker: Robin Lester is a graduate of the University of Chicago where he earned his Ph.D. in history and went on to become an award winning historian. In 1996 he was awarded Book of the Year by The North American Society for Sport History for his book STAGG’S UNIVERSITY: The Rise, Decline, and Fall of Big-Time Football at Chicago. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Journal of American History, the Journal of Sports History, and The New York Times. In his youth he was a semi-finalist in the national VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars, essay contest.

To register for our event at the HWLCA please call the Pawling Library at 845-855-3444 or send an email to Donald at