It’s a royal pain in the neck for the long-suffering Norm, but the Library’s Judge Timothy Day Bequest Awards are, in their way, one of the coolest things we do, i.e. publically recognizing public high school students who have demonstrated excellence in writing by the eleventh grade. Judge Day (left) set aside money in his will for scholarships to the Library for worthy students from the common schools. This was in 1869, 141 years before Melinda and Bill Gates got in the game.
The scholarship to the Library probably means less to the recipients than the free lunch, an excuse to get out of school for a few hours, and the line on the college application for the present. But we have heard hundreds of times from friends, childrens, nieces and nephews of Day Bequest Award winners who never forgot the honor, and mention it when they see the Mercantile Library in the news. So that’s nice.
Today we will feed the winners, their custodians, and a few of their school officials, and provide them with a talk by Ann Hagedorn, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, still a brainy kid, who will tell them about the writing life. They’ll remember that, too.