Calvin Prize for Vermont Youth


Calvin Coolidge was born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont and attended Black River Academy in Ludlow. Though Coolidge left Vermont for college and pursued his career as an attorney in Massachusetts, Coolidge never lost his affection for the Green Mountain State. In the years he served as president, from 1923 to 1929, Coolidge often thought of Vermont. “Vermont is I state I love,” the president said in his remarkable address at Bennington in 1928.

President and Mrs. Coolidge had two sons, John and Calvin, Jr. As a boy, Calvin, Jr. displayed remarkable awareness of the obligation of the presidency and service generally. At one of his jobs, picking tobacco in Hatfield, Ma., another boy told Calvin, Jr. that if his own father were president or vice president, he would not work in a tobacco field. “If your father were my father, you would,” Calvin, Jr. replied. Calvin, Jr. died tragically in 1923, while the Coolidges were in the White House.

The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation has therefore proudly established the Calvin Prize for Vermont Youth, a prize named after father and son for writers aged 19 years and younger currently living or attending school in the state of Vermont.

The Coolidge Foundation thanks National Life Insurance Group for its support of the Calvin Prize. The Coolidge Foundation also thanks the Young Writer’s Project for its guidance and support of the prize.


  1. To be eligible to compete, the contestant must be a current resident of the state of Vermont or attend school in Vermont.
  2. Contestants must be age 13-19 as of May 19, 2017 (i.e. contestants cannot be younger than 13 or older than 19).
  3. Writing submissions must contain fewer than 800 words.
  4. Writing submissions may be an essay previously submitted as a school assignment or a new writing submission altogether. The submitting author may have a teacher or mentor provide feedback on a draft, but the submission must reflect the author’s own original thinking and writing. Poems and short stories are also welcome.
  5. The winners will be invited to attend the Coolidge Foundation’s Summer Gala on Saturday, July 1, 2017 where they will be honored and receive their awards.

Additional questions? Please email us at: [email protected].

Please click here to learn more about the 2017 prompt and to apply for the prize.


2014 Calvin Prize Winner Sydney Benjamin is pictured here with Foundation Vice Chair Catherine Nelson, Coolidge descendant Jennifer Sayles Harville, and Program Associate Rushad Thomas.

Past Winners:


First Place: Catherine Ware, Stannard, VT

Second Place: Abigail Ham, Sheffield, VT


First Place: Ethan Forster, Danville, VT

Runner-Up: Kathryn Bassette, Hartland, VT


First Place: Sydney Benjamin, Peacham, VT

Runner-Up: Jay Tilden, St. Johnsbury, VT


First Place: Abigail Millard, Perkinsville, VT

Runner-Up: Robin Vincent, St. Johnsbury, VT