Rules & Guidelines

Students will submit a project that addresses an important presidential decision made by one of the five Racing Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, or William Howard Taft. Professional video producers will develop winning projects into short films that will be shown at Nationals Park.

Here is everything you need to know to create and submit your project.



Participating students must be enrolled in grades 9 - 12 in the D.C. metropolitan area for the 2016-2017 school year. This includes all high school students in:

  • Alexandria City
  • Arlington County
  • District of Columbia
  • Fairfax County
  • Falls Church City
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George's County


Students may submit a project as an individual or in a group of no more than four students (i.e. 2-4 students). Students, whether they are working as individuals or in groups, may only submit one project reflecting the decision of ONE of the Racing Presidents.


Projects must be the work of the student(s) who submit the project. Parents and/or teachers may not complete any aspect of this project for the participants. A parent, teacher, friend, professional, etc., must NOT: create pictures for the storyboard, write any part of the essay, or conduct research on a student/group’s behalf. Reasonable support may be provided. Examples of this include asking a parent or teacher for editing feedback on your project or asking a librarian or other professional for support in conducting research.

Plagiarism in any form is strictly prohibited. Student projects that do not credit sources or attempt to use another person’s work as their own will be disqualified.

Project submissions must be emailed or postmarked by Friday, February 24, 2017 to be eligible.


Only complete projects will be submitted for judging. So, what does a complete project look like? A complete project includes three parts: a storyboard, an essay, and an annotated bibliography—all of which explore a decision that one of the Racing Presidents made while in the White House (in George Washington's case, the President's House in New York or Philadelphia).

You must explore that decision using primary sources and express why that decision is historically significant. To fit the 50-second film timeframe for winning projects, storyboards could draw inspiration from historical newsreels, but provide an updated and modern approach. Think Newsreels for a New Century!

View Examples of Historic Newsreels

The storyboard must include:

  1. A film title
  2. Clear and easy to interpret pictures (primary source images, or images made by hand, computer, or through another medium)
  3. Brief descriptions of what will happen/the action in each scene
  4. Storyboard must depict a presidential decision and its impact

The essay must include/be:

  1. A description of a presidential decision and analysis of why it is important
  2. How or why the president was able to make that decision (Constitutional powers)
  3. The legacy of that decision on various groups of people in our country
  4. A rationale for why you or your group chose that particular president and decision
  5. Between 500 and 1,000 words
  6. Footnotes and/or citations in Chicago or MLA format

The annotated bibliography must include:

  1. A variety of 5 or more relevant primary sources (newspapers, letters, advertisements, photos, etc.)
  2. At least 2 secondary sources (biographies, encyclopedias, textbooks, documentary films, etc.)
  3. A rationale for each source, including how it relates to your topic, and how you used the source in your project. Please note: You do not need to plan for all 5 primary sources to be shown in your storyboard and film. However, you should still describe how those sources helped you create your project and form your ideas

Download Bibliography Guide

Download Rubric


While not required, the following will help you create your best project and increase your chances of winning the opportunity to make a film that will be shown on the big screen at a Washington Nationals game!

  1. We highly recommend that teachers schedule a time for a WHHA educator to visit their classroom for a lesson on using primary sources to create a film storyboard. Teachers can request a visit here.
  2. We encourage all students to share their projects with their history or social studies teacher for feedback before they submit. This means having a second set of eyes read over your project and checklist to ensure that you have met all the requirements for submission. Remember, you are responsible for your own work. When asking someone for feedback on your project, please make sure that they are not helping you with analysis, research, drawing, or otherwise changing the content or substance of your project.