The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation student essay competition deadline is January 15

For the first time in Keys history, Monroe County high school students will have the opportunity to compete in a world-class essay contest juried by a prominent group of distinguished United States presidential descendants. First, Second, and Third place winners will receive an invitation to meet and interact with presidential descendants at the upcoming annual Harry S. Truman Foundation Presidential Families Weekend forum, along with cash prizes and certificates of achievement. Deadline for submissions is January 15, 2023.

In February of each year The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation presents several days of special events over Presidents’ Day Weekend. Centerpiece of the weekend is a forum held on the grounds of the historic Harry S. Truman Little White House that features a gathering of U.S. presidential descendants who engage in a moderated discussion on a particular theme before a live audience.

The student essays are to be based on this year’s forum topic, “Working Across the Aisle: American Bipartisanship.” The competition, organized and presented by The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation in partnership with The Society of Presidential Descendants, is open to all Monroe County students currently enrolled in grades 9-12, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and who have performed volunteer service work within the past two years, including home schooled and charter school students. The prize packages for First, Second and Third place winners will include tickets to attend the Saturday, February 18 forum, where attending presidential descendants, including Susan Ford Bales, Clifton Truman Daniel, Mary Jean Eisenhower, Massee McKinley, and Patricia Taft will introduce the winning students to the audience following the discussion.

“It is an honor to be able to host members of the Society of Presidential Descendants here on the grounds of the Harry S. Truman Little White House, particularly during Presidents Day Weekend,” said Clinton Curry, Acting Executive Director of the Harry S. Truman Foundation. “And it’s particularly gratifying this year as we provide an essay contest for our local high school youth for the very first time.”

Other Presidential Families Weekend events taking place on the grounds of the Harry S. Truman Little White House are Sunday, February 19 and Monday, February 20, live performances of the long-running stage production, “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!,” which stars Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of Harry S. Truman, guided tours of the Historic Little White House, self-guided botanical lawn tours, ancillary cocktail parties, and a Monday BBQ on the Little White House lawn. The “Presidential Families Weekend and Forum” is presented with the support of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

Deadline for student essay submissions is January 15, 2023. For essay guidelines and submission information, visit For event tickets and information visit

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