Ben Small wins Historical Society of Riverton’s History Writing contest

This just in from Heather MacIntosh Huffnagle, the person who conceived the idea to hold our November 2019 House Party, the proceeds of which established cash prizes to encourage Riverton high-school student authors to use primary sources to write about local history.

Congratulations to Palmyra High School’s Benjamin Small, the first-ever winner of the Historical Society of Riverton’s History Writing contest. We announced the challenge on April 1 and asked high school students residing in Riverton to describe in 1000 words how the historic context of mid-19th century America figured into the founding of Riverton. Essays were due on May 15.

Benjamin will be recognized publicly at Riverton’s Fourth of July ceremonies in Riverton Park. He will also receive a $500 check and have his essay featured on our website (see below).

Thanks also to Riverton School’s administrators, who gave us a list of schools their graduates attend. These include Palmyra High School, Moorestown Friends School, Holy Cross Preparatory Academy, Doane Academy, the Burlington County Institute of Technology, Paul VI School, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Camden Catholic School, and Bishop Eustace School. We reached out to each school, generally their counseling office, to share the contest news with their Riverton students.

We were extremely pleased with all of the essays we received. Many thanks to our members and supporters who have contributed to the Writing Prize fund. We raised about $4500 for this new program, the implementation of which was delayed by disruptions to education during COVID.

HSR Board Member and Borough Historian Roger Prichard also expressed his pleasure with the result:

Only just now had a chance to read the essays, and aren’t they a gratifying effort? And Ben’s is the clear choice as the winner – well-organized, engagingly written, amazingly free of errors – and he used endnotes! In Chicago Manual of Style format! Well done, indeed.

Oh, and nobody had mentioned Ben’s other connection with history. (Riverton’s ALL about connections!)

Ben appears on our HSR marker for Riverton School in the iPhone picture four years ago, updating the classic postcard view.

He’s second from the right in the red t-shirt, photo taken by our own Mrs. Dechnik on February 26, 2018.

All good stuff, makes me grin!

Thanks to Heather and her blue-ribbon committee for making this happen.

This link opens the PDF with Ben Small’s winning essay.

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John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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