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Sleepy Hollow Students Win History Essay Contest

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TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Lily Sands and Claire Royston can tell you everything you need to know about John Paulding and Rockwell Kent, two important figures in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow history.

The two Sleepy Hollow High School students have been named the winners of the 9th Annual Hall of Fame Essay contest sponsored by Warner Library, the Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown Historical Society, the Hudson Valley Writers' Center, the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns and the villages of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

“This has been such a great opportunity,” Sleepy Hollow resident and sophomore Royston said during an awards ceremony Wednesday. “I'm so honored and it's been such an enjoyable experience. Through my research, I've learned so much.”

Tarrytown resident and sophomore Sands wrote about Rockwell Kent, a Tarrytown resident and artist who was rejected by many during the McCarthy era but whose work now can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute and the Whitney Museum of Art.

Royston wrote about John Paulding, one of a trio of Revolutionary War soldiers who captured British Major John Andre, a spy for Benedict Arnold.

Warner Library Director Maureen Petry noted this year's essay winners were particularly exciting for the library because they display a Rockwell Kent painting and the library building sits next to Patriot's Park, where Paulding and two others captured Andre.

Historical society curator Sara Mascia said 92 essays were submitted this year. She read them all in two days.

“They were all wonderful, and I can't tell you how much I learned,” she said.

Sands thanked Mascia for her help in researching Kent. Student essayists worked with the historical society and their teachers to research figures. The two winners each received $200. The winning essays will be displayed at the library along with past winning essays.

Richard Rose, president of the society, said the essay contest is a way for school and library officials to instill in students a sense that history is important and people can learn a great deal from it.

“I think by looking at people's lives, we can all have a chance to glean something that perhaps they presented for us that we can use in our own special way,” he said.

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