The 2017 Wadleigh Competition

Rules, Regulations, and Requirements:

Eligibility: Entrants must be a senior high school student enrolled in a certified school AND a permanent resident of Merrimac, Massachusetts.

Registration: Registration must be submitted by Thursday, April 13, 2017. Download the form here: wadleigh-registration.pdf or pick up a hard copy in person at the library. Completed forms can be emailed to the library director at; mailed to Wadleigh Competition, c/o Merrimac Public Library, 86 West main Street, Merrimac, MA 01860; or dropped off in person at the Merrimac Public Library. A letter of confirmation will be mailed to you upon receipt.

Requirements: Entrants will be allowed two hours to answer 35 multiple-choice questions and write a 500-word essay based solely on the 36 page publication titled Merrimac Historic Trail Guide published in 2007 by the Merrimac Historical Commission. Copies are available at the library on loan and for purchase.

Selection: Exam results will be reviewed and judged by the Trustees of Merrimac Public Library. The trustees reserve the right to award or withhold the prize based on a minimum standard of performance.

Award: One prize of $1,000 (one-thousand dollars).

Notification: Entrants will receive their award status by mail.

Competition Date and Time: The competition exam will be given at the meeting room of Merrimac Public Library on Saturday afternoon, May 6, 2017 from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M.

Competitors should arrive at the exam location fifteen minutes early to be checked in and seated. No personal electronic devices of any nature will be allowed during the exam period (all such devices are to be turned off and placed in separately marked containers for retrieval after the student has completed his/her exam and left the exam room). The exam monitors will provide all necessary exam materials: exam booklets, answer sheets, pens, and essay paper. Dictionaries will be made available for use in the exam room but students are NOT ALLOWED to bring into the exam room or have in their possession any form of notes, review sheets, outlines, or similar support materials. Discovery of any form of cheating will mean immediate disqualification.

Exam Content Guidelines: The 35 multiple-choice questions will be taken generally from all portions of the Merrimac Historic Trail Guide. Students should be familiar with all parts of the trail guide booklet including the preface, acknowledgements, overview, map, and the photograph and illustration captions. People, places, and events will be referenced by their common names and geographic locations and not by the site number assigned by the booklet. (You do not have to memorize site numbers.)

The exam essay will be written after the student has completed and handed in the multiple-choice portion. Completed essays should be approximately 500 words in length (about two or two and a half pages) and must be submitted before the overall two-hour time period has expired. Students are allowed/encouraged to jot down, on separate paper that will be provided, important facts for their essay, an outline, or even a rough draft before writing their final version. All such work materials will be collected along with the finished essay.

A new feature for the Wadleigh Competition in 2017 is giving the essay question before the exam so as to help students focus as they prepare for the exam.


Mr. Wadleigh stated in his bequest to create the Albert P. Wadleigh Award that the purpose of the award was to have students “… realize that what is now the Town of Merrimac, Massachusetts from its first settlement … to the present time, has a history well worth being studied and preserved.”

PROMPT: Using concrete historical information and personal insights, respond to the following assignment in a well-organized, clear, and grammatically correct essay (not to exceed 500–600 words):

Drawing on what you have learned in preparing for the Wadleigh Award competition, compose an essay that describes several of the most important topics and events in Merrimac’s long and rich history that demonstrates to you that Merrimac “has a history well worth being studied and preserved.”