STUDENT WRITERS TACKLE POLITICS FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY ESSAY CONTEST

Angie Herrera Yanes, right, who took first place in the 2024 Presidential Families Weekend student essay contest, poses with Patricia Taft, great-granddaughter of William Howard Taft, upon receiving her award. CAROL TEDESCO/The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation

The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation and the Society of Presidential Descendants recently selected first, second and third-place winners in the second annual Presidential Families Weekend student essay competition, a component of the foundation’s annual Presidents’ Day weekend events.

Awards were announced and presented after the 2024 Presidential Descendants Forum, a live moderated discussion among a panel of presidential descendants held Feb. 17 on the grounds of the Key West Harry S. Truman Little White House.

Student competitors researched and wrote about the forum’s 2024 theme of “Political Maneuvering: The Powerful Influence of the Presidency.”

Angie Herrera Yanes, an 11th grader at Key West High School, won first place and received her award from Patricia Taft, great-granddaughter of William Howard Taft. Yanes’ essay explores “the intricate practice of political maneuvering, delving into its multifaceted dimensions and profound impact on the presidency.”

Jordan Lubis, a senior at Coral Shores High School, won second place and received his award from Massee McKinley, great-great-grandson of Grover Cleveland. Lubis’s essay examines Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal economic relief programs and policies.

Jordan Lubis, right, who won second place in the 2024 Presidential Families Weekend student essay contest, with Massee McKinley, great-great-grandson of Grover Cleveland. CAROL TEDESCO/The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation

The third-place award went to Caroline Garfield, an 11th-grade Coral Shores High School student for her essay titled, “The Political Maneuvering of President Thomas Jefferson.”

The submissions were judged by members of the Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation and the Society of Presidential Descendants, based on their compelling presentation of the subject. Students were also required to provide documentation of having performed community service work during the past two years.

Jennifer C. Barrios, the school district’s social studies coordinator, acted as liaison between the district and the competition organizers.

Each winner received cash prizes and tickets to attend the Feb. 17 forum in Key West.

“All of us from the Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation and the Society of Presidential Descendants who have been involved with the competition are so proud of these students and their accomplishments,” said Clinton Curry, the foundation’s executive director. “The caliber of research and writing submitted by the contestants was truly excellent.”

The mission of the foundation is to preserve the Harry S. Truman Little White House, Florida’s only presidential museum, and programming that supports civic engagement, education, and the historic and cultural influences of the Truman era. More information is available from the foundation’s deputy director, Michael Ables, at michael.ables@kwtrumanfoundation.org.