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2009 Essay Contest

The New York State Historical Association and the Royal Netherlands Embassy are pleased to present the winners for a New York State Quadricentennial Essay Contest for the 2008-2009 school year:

Legacies of New Netherland: A New York State Quadricentennial Essay Contest


New York State students in grades 4-12 were invited to celebrate New York's 400th birthday by investigating its early colonial history and developing an engaging historical essay. Over 180 students explored New Netherland and learned how the Dutch have had a lasting impact on America's culture and heritage, particularly related to three Dutch traditions that continue to influence American culture today:








  • Religious freedom
  • Freedom of speech
  • New York as a center of world trade
Students conducted original research and used their findings to develop their essays. The contest was divided into three divisions - Elementary (grades 4 and 5), Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12).

Elementary Division students were asked to write an essay based on this topic: "Choose a person from the colony of New Netherland and describe how and why his/her actions have helped make our country a better place today." Junior Division students were asked to write an essay based on this topic: "Discuss why early settlements in New Netherland were a success, and how they contributed to our current way of life" Senior Division students were asked to write an essay based on this topic: "Choose one of the three Dutch traditions – religious tolerance, freedom of speech, or New York as a center of world trade – and discuss how it has impacted our American society from colonial times to the present. Pay particular attention to the tradition's change over the last four centuries and how it has been adapted to fit the fabric of our nation today."

Student submissions, which were due March 1, were judged by historians, educators, and museum professionals who have both an interest and expertise in colonial New York history. All submissions narrowed down to five finalists in each division. The finalists were invited to Cooperstown during the New York State History Day contest on May 1, 2009 where the winners were announced during the contest's award ceremony.
 
Contest Winners

The first place winners in each Division received a $500 cash award and a set of books on the Dutch colony of New Netherland for their school library. You can read the student essays by clicking on the paper title in the list below.

Elementary Division
Fifth Place
Peter Stuyvesant and Religious Tolerance (PDF file, 1.71 MB)
Riva Taskir - Maimonides Hebrew School, Albany, NY

Fourth Place

Looking for Riches in the Spice Islands and China: The Dangerous Adventures of Henry Hudson (PDF file, 2.55 MB)
Anthony Birch - Cooperstown Elementary School, Cooperstown, NY

Third Place
John Bowne's Journey for Religious Freedom (PDF file, 2.4 MB)
Jibril Kapadia - Springhurst Elementary School, Dobbs Ferry, NY

Second Place

The Secret Autobiography of Deborah Moody (PDF file, 2.03 MB)
Amelia Dolce - C.C. Ring Elementary School, Jamestown, NY

First Place

One of the First True Americans (PDF file, 1.87 KB)
Keenan Kossman - East Moriches Elementary School, East Moriches, NY

Junior Division
Fifth Place
The Missing Pages of New York State History (PDF file, 4.29 MB)
Katharine Citrone - Good Counsel Academy, White Plains, NY

Fourth Place

The Dutch Influence on America (PDF file, 4.64 MB)
Julie Jacob - Good Counsel Academy, White Plains, NY

Third Place

Legacies of New Netherland (PDF file, 5.02 MB)
Alexandria Gutierrez - Good Counsel Academy, White Plains, NY

Second Place

New Netherland: Dutch Beginnings (PDF life, 5.23 MB)
Christopher Keogh - Good Counsel Academy, White Plains, NY

First Place
The Dutch Influence on New York (PDF file, 4.08 MB)
Callie Kanim - Good Counsel Academy, White Plains, NY

Senior Division

Fifth Place
A Strong Standard of Religious Tolerance (PDF file, 6.18 MB)
Simranjit Singh - Townsend Harris High School, New York, NY

Fourth Place

Foundation of Manhattan (PDF file, 6.91 MB)
Stefan Evans - Townsend Harris High School, New York, NY

Third Place

The Impact of the Dutch Free Speech Policy on the Tolerance of Extremist Speech under the First Amendment (PDF file, 9.47 MB)
Michele St. Julien - Townsend Harris High School, New York, NY

Second Place

Because They Were Jewish: Religious Tolerance in New Netherland (PDF file, 13.34 MB)
Rachel Mayo - Townsend Harris High School, New York, NY

First Place

The Fight for Religious Freedom