White House at Bat: A Presidential History Challenge

The Washington Nationals and the White House Historical Association (WHHA) have partnered together to bring education and sports together in a new and refreshing way. To enter the competition high school students in 9th through 12th grade from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are eligible to participate and compete for a $1,000 grand prize. 

Eligible students are required to draw up a storyboard (example below) of one of the five Racing Presidents (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, or William Howard Taft) making a major White House decision while president of the United States.

Examples could be George Washington choosing Washington, DC, as the capital. Or Teddy Roosevelt choosing to take over the Panama Canal Project. How about William “Bill” Taft being the first president to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game? “The key is to be creative and let your mind run wild,” says WHHA President Stewart McLaurin (former resident of 1250 4th St. SW).


(Source: http://www.whitehousehistory.org/nationals/plan-your-storyboard)

Five lucky winners will have their storyboards turned into professionally filmed and edited stories that will broadcast during a game at Nationals Park in 2016. Talk about college application material! In addition, winners will be invited to an award reception at the WHHA at Lafayette Square, together with their families, teachers, and school principals. A $1,000 grand prize will be awarded to each of the five winning submissions—one for each president. But the winner does not have to be one person, “it could be a single high school student, a classroom, a club, a group of friends, or a baseball team—all can compete!” (Note, you will have to divide the winnings among your group.)

The WHHA and the Washington Nationals have developed an educational outreach program in the form of a short-film competition for high school students in 9th through 12th grade in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The program focuses on the White House and presidential history. It examines the constitutional powers of a president, focuses on decision-making in the White House, and considers how executive decisions throughout history were influenced by the diverse constituencies that make up the American citizenry. Many of these ideas were visible this season to Nationals fans as the WHHA sponsored White House trivia questions during all 81 home games. In addition, the WHHA is in part responsible for the secret 6th racing president this season, Calvin Coolidge. Fun trivia: Did you know Calvin Coolidge was the last president to throw out first pitch for a Washington baseball team in the World Series?

Every year for the past 35 years, the WHHA has sold the White House Christmas ornament, sequentially featuring presidents. This year the ornament features McLaurin’s favorite president, Calvin Coolidge. The ornaments will be on display and sale Dec. 12-13 during Winterfest at the Convention Center.

Historical resources that can help students create their storyboards can be found online at whitehousehistory.org/nationals/meet-the-presidents. And, yes, it is possible to enter one storyboard for each president. The submission deadline is Feb. 25, 2016, and it must be emailed or postmarked by this date to be eligible. Judging will take place during March and April 2016 and participants will be notified of the results by April 15, 2016.

Additional information about the contest can be found online at whitehousehistory.org/nationals.

To download a template of the storyboard format, visit http://goo.gl/itEGCe.


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