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Three Saint James School Students are Winners in the Somerset Hills Historical Society's "Tree Views" Essay Contest

To honor the recently removed 600-year-old white oak tree in Basking Ridge, The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) sponsored the “Tree-Views" essay contest for public and private school students in Grades K through 12 in the Somerset Hills area.
Hosted by THSSH Trustee Meg Wastie and the historical society's education committee, an awards night was held on June 8th at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church's Westminster Hall to recognize 12 winners in four school categories. Seventy five entries were submitted and all are included in the Basking Ridge Historic Oak Tree Project book, along with over 50 images, including those submitted in the William Annin Oak Tree T-Shirt contest.

The “Tree-Views” contest encouraged students to consider the perspective of the historic white oak as it stood through six centuries of local history. What events might the tree have “seen?” What individuals might have passed by its branches? What activities might have taken place near the tree? Writing through the “persona” of the tree, students chose their genre: essay, poem, fictitious news article, or short story. Students in Grades K-1 presented pictorial “stories” of the tree’s observations.

Congratulations to SJS winners Gwynivere Elefante and Emerson Sheehan, who were group winners in their respective categories (see below), and Molly Laska, who received an honorable mention!

The Basking Ridge Historic Oak Tree Project book is available now at THSSH's Brick Academy and online.