Kalei Foley-Rutherfurd, a sixth-grade student at Thaddeus Stevens School in Lyndon Center, was a winner in the Dear George Washington Letter Writing contest sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, based in New York City.
Students were to imagine attending George Washington's first inaugural address and then write a letter to President Washington suggesting important issues on which he should focus during his first term as president of the new United States of America. Students were allowed to assume any persona in writing their letters and had to keep within a 250 -- 300 word limit.
Kalei chose the persona of Martha Parke Custis, President Washington's adopted daughter. In her letter, Kalei asked President Washington to pay particular attention to educational opportunities for girls because, she said, "I want to have many different successful jobs, but I am focusing on becoming a judge in court. I know I can't be the only girl with this outstanding dream."
Kalei's letter won fourth place with a cash prize out of 251 entries from the United States. Also receiving certificates of participation and a book about the American Revolution were Thaddeus Stevens School students Audrey Royer, Jack Grant and Victoria Young.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, of which Thaddeus Stevens School is an affiliate, is a nonprofit organization supporting the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation.