Old Groton Meeting House Essay Contest 2023

Did you know that the historic Old Groton Meeting House, located on Minuteman Common in Groton Center, is believed to be the second oldest Meeting House in the country still used and operating? Constructed in 1755, all of Groton’s Town Meetings from 1755 to 1859 were held here.

One of the most notable meetings took place on June 27, 1776, when the inhabitants of Groton met to vote on whether or not they would support independence. At that meeting, the people of Groton issued their own Declaration of Independence.

From its beginning, a wide range of civic events have also been held here. For over two centuries, the Old Groton Meeting House has been a central place in our town marking the importance of democracy, civic engagement and a community committed to caring for others.

Essay Question

Explain what it means to be civically engaged and its importance. Cite a specific example of a person who you see as an inspiring model of civic engagement – choose someone from your local community or our state.

How do you plan on staying or becoming civically engaged in a way that impacts your current or future community? (Your community could be where you live, where you work, where you go to school.) Be specific about your action plan.

Eligibility Juniors and Seniors, whether at GDRHS or homeschoolers

Deadline: Submit your essay by April 17, 2023

Prizes: Winners will be announced at the GDRHS Senior Awards Night ceremony.

  • $2,500 — First Prize
    • Ring the Meeting House bell on July 4th, 2023!
    • Winning essay will be published in the Groton Herald!

Criteria for Assessment

  • Strong Thesis Statement: topic and its importance clearly stated (20 points)
  • Strong Supporting Evidence and Reasoning: thesis is well supported through both your example and your action plan (20 points)
  • Your Action Plan: details are clear and specific (20 points)
  • Creativity and Voice: original, motivating and inspiring (20 points)
  • Conclusion: ties essay together and summarizes importance of topic in thought provoking way (20 points)
  • Writing Mechanics: proofread for grammar, spelling and punctuation (10 points)
  • Formatting: your name and page number on each page of paper, double spaced, 500-700 words written in size 12 Times New Roman font, cite any sources referenced (10 points).


  • Deborah E. Johnson – Groton Herald Editor
  • Jason Kauppi – Town Moderator
  • Lynne Bover – Social Studies Department Chair, Acton Boxborough Junior High School (Retired)

Previous Years’ Contests


Email essay@oldgrotonmeetinghouse.org.




Good Luck!