An annual event each February, city and school officials, North Shore Bank, local historians, teachers and proud parents gather at the homestead of George Peabody to fete the newest winners of the third grade essay contest in his name.
This year, the writing prompt asked students how they would use their wealth to help the world if they were "great philanthopists" like George Peabody. This is the twenty-third year of the contest.
Here are their essays, which they read on Friday in addition to receiving their awards presented by Mayor Ted Bettencourt and North Shore Bank.
If I could be a great philanthropist like George Peabody I would donate my money and time to the Amazon Rainforest. The trees in the Amazon Rainforest are important because they give us 20% of our oxygen and provide homes to almost every creature in the rainforest. Millions of acres of trees are being cut down every day. Fifty thousand species of insects and plants are dying because their home is being destroyed. Experts say in forty years the rainforests will not exist if we keep doing this horrible thing. My money would help plant more trees and make commercials that tell people not to do this. That is what I would do if I were a great philanthropist like George Peabody -- Jacqueline Nazzaro
George Peabody was a great philanthropist who used his money to help people. After our field trip to the George Peabody House, I was inspired to help animals. So there I was in my house, playing with my friend Isabella, and we got an idea. I emptied my piggy bank and dumped all the money out on the floor. Lots and lots of money came out. Then I counted the money. I had $60. The next Friday I went and bought items like beds, food, water bowls, food bowls, catnip, toys and treats. I'm going to give it to the animals soon. I hope the animals really enjoy the gifts before Christmas. -- Emma Darling
George Peabody was a well-known philanthropist because of all he did to help others in need. I'd like to follow in his footsteps by being a great philanthropist too. As an eight-year-old girl I would like to make a change in the world. I have a lot of ideas! One of the things I can use is my creativity to make cards for kids in hospitals to brighten their day! I could use my money to go to college. I could study to be a teacher. As a teacher I would be able to provide kids with the best gift ever...a great education of their own. I could also donate books to libraries to give kids the gift of reading. Starting as a child, I know I can make a change in the world. -- Samantha Cahill
The event was held at the George Peabody House Museum on Feb. 17, the day before Peabody's birthday -- he would be 217 this year.
The contest was organized by Kelly Turner of the Peabody Historical Society and the judges were: Mary-Lou DaSilva of North Shore Bank, Historical Society Director William Power and volunteers Vera Burke, Linda Roemer and Rosemary O’Brien, who recently retired as the registrar for the museum.
Finalists were narrowed down to 40 and those essays are now on display at the museum. All third grade students paid a visit to the historic house in the fall to learn about the life and legacy of the city's namesake.
A historical anecdote: North Shore Bank, which has sponsored the contest from the beginning, was known as the George Peabody Co-operative Bank between 1970 and 1996 when it adopted its current name.