American Dream Essay Contest

In January 2017, The Leominster Public Library worked in partnership with Fitchburg State University’s 2016-2017 Community Read of Our Kids by Robert Putnam to host an essay contest, with generous cash prizes awarded to the top four essays.

The American Dream Essay Contest was open to all local high school students. Students were asked to write a 500-800 word essay in response to the question: “What is the American Dream, and is it still achievable for all?”

Students were encouraged to draw on personal experiences, as well as those of friends and family. Essays were judged on originality, interest, vocabulary and grammar. The essay entries were required to be original works and could not have been previously published. The essays were given to the judges without the writer's name or identifying information attached in order to ensure equal treatment.

The essays were judged by:

Edward Bergman, Leominster Public Library

Ann Finch, Leominster Public Library

Professor Joseph Moser, Fitchburg State University

Diane Sanabria, Leominster Public Library

Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library

We received entries from students of Leominster High School, Fitchburg High School, Lunenburg High School, and from one home-schooled student. We selected the following three winners and one honorable mention (click on the links below to read the winning essays):

First Prize Winning Essay

    Written by Jennifer Payne



Second Prize Winning Essay

    Written by Rachel Arena



Third Prize Winning Essay

    Written by Nicole DeSouza



Honorable Mention Essay

    Written by Keagan Casey



The winning essayists were invited to attend the American Dream Intergenerational Panel Discussion event held at the Library on February 16, 2017.  First prize winner Jennifer Payne participated in the event as one of the four panelists.

Thanks to all who participated in the American Dream Essay Contest and congratulations to the winners!

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