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Great Presidents Contest at Raynham Hall

Entries due by February 1; winner’s reception March 3

Raynham Hall and the Oyster Bay chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are hosting the 20th annual Great Presidents Contest, being held at the historic museum at 20 West Main Street. Entries are due by Wednesday, Feb. 1 by 5 p.m. Only one entry per person. The reception will be held on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. All contestants and their parents and teachers are invited to attend a reception including an awards ceremony at Raynham Hall Museum, 20 West Main Street, Oyster Bay.

Winning entries will be on display at the museum from Feb. 17 through March 1, and will be available to be picked up beginning March 5.

All entries not picked up by March 12 will be disposed of unless prior arrangements have been made with the museum.

The writing contest is open to all students in grades 2 through 6, writing an original essay about their favorite U.S. President and why they chose him. The contest originally centered around Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – as the two presidents most closely connected to Raynham Hall Museum, which features a Colonial and Victorian section. Additionally, RHM owns an original George Washington letter and a set of his wooden false teeth.

It was then suggested that in Oyster Bay, there is another worthy President, local resident Theodore Roosevelt. As a result, the contest has opened up to the student’s favorite president.

Harriet Gerard Clark, RHM director, said “I just think it is good for people to have more choices and it gives us more of a variety to read. Having a choice also gives the kids the opportunity to go more in-depth for their learning. The contest is different every year to get more people involved.”

Contest winners will be notified on or around Feb. 10.

Each grade will have one winner and one runner-up who will both receive prizes courtesy of the contest’s sponsors. The contest is sponsored by Raynham Hall Museum and the Oyster Bay Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR group meets monthly at Raynham Hall Museum, a fitting location for the women whose ancestors fought on the side of the revolution.

Work will be judged on content, creativity, adherence to guidelines, historical accuracy and correct grammatical usage. The panel of judges includes Ms. Clark, Phil Blocklyn, director of the Oyster Bay Historical Society, and Franklin Hill Perrell, director of the Roslyn Landmark Society.

She said, “We get about 200 to 250 entries and we narrow the number down to the top 50 and then the judges pick the winners and runners-up in each grade. In all, a total of 10 prizes will be given out.” Locust Valley Central School District and Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District students take the contest seriously as part of their history work and annually take part in the contest.

Students wishing to submit for the contest can send them to: Great Presidents Contest; c/o Raynham Hall Museum; 20 West Main Street, Oyster Bay, NY 11771 with a deadline of Feb. 1. You can also drop the entry off at the museum during regular museum hours: Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on weekends from 1 to 5 p.m. Questions or comments about the contest can be directed to Stephen Waldenburg, Raynham Hall Museum education coordinator, at 922-6808 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .