Irish Essay

Congratulations to our 2017 Winners of the Michael J. Larkin Irish Essay Competition!

First prize:  Madelyn McGuigan, RFH, Grade 10

Second prize:  Charles Krause, RFH, Grade 12 


2016 Winners

First prize:  Peter Hogan Jr., Senior RFH

Second prize:  Christopher Fahey, Senior RFH 


2015 Winners

First prize:  Bridget Fitzgerald
Second prize:  Liam Reilly


The 2017 Michael J. Larkin Memorial Essay Competition

Irish-Americans in Film and Music

What do Christina Aguilera, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Julia Stiles, Taylor Swift, and Mark Wahlberg all have in common?

They are all modern Irish-Americans who have left their mark in American film and music. The Michael J. Larkin Memorial Irish Essay Competition wishes to celebrate the contributions of these and other acclaimed Irish-American actors/actresses and musicians (past or present) to American culture.

The Michael J. Larkin Memorial Irish Essay Competition invites all Fair Haven and Rumson resident high school students in grades 9 through 12 to write an essay that explores the work and highlights the contributions of a particular favorite Irish-American actor or musician (past or present) to American culture. Examine if this artist draws inspiration from his/her Irish roots? What impact do they have on others who identify themselves as Irish-Americans? How has their unique Irish heritage influenced their body of work, the lyrics to their poems, the words in their songs, the notes in their music, or the way they act and dance? There are many talented artists to choose from. Tell their story and how, perhaps you have been inspired and our culture has been influenced by their gift and message.

This essay must be 500-750 words in length, and it must be supported by research-based evidence regarding the artist’s cultural contributions and his/her Irish heritage.

A submitted essay must have a cover sheet that includes the work’s title, the name of the student, and the student’s contact information: address, phone number, school, grade level, and e-mail.  

The deadline for submission is Friday, March 3rd, 2017.  Contest rules and regulations are provided in more detail below.

*First place winner of this year’s essay will receive a $750.00 scholarship award and second place winner will receive a $250.00 prize.

Essay documents should be saved to a PDF and then e-mailed to IrishEssay@rumsonstpatricksdayparade.org.  For those who do not have access to save or print to PDF, essay hard copies can be dropped off at the Oceanic Free Library (Attn: MJLMEC) and the Main Office of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Attn: MJLMEC).

Good luck to all of this year’s participants. 

The Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.

The Michael J. Larkin Irish Essay Competition is committed to promoting Irish history, culture, tradition, and its influence by offering a competitive outlet for students to write about its effects with creativity, heart, and passion while further defining the connection between Ireland and America.

Please Submit Irish Essays by Friday, March 3rd, 2017


The Michael J. Larkin Memorial Essay 
Competition Guidelines

The Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Irish Heritage Series and Irish Essay Competition Committee, chaired by Peter Hogan with Mike Maguire, Jamie McManus, Dennis Devine, and Christopher Neary and Deirdre Courtney as committee members, will have the responsibility of setting the scope, topic, criteria, guidelines, administering the competition, and announcing and presenting the scholarship awards.

1) Name of Essay Competition:

The Michael J. Larkin Memorial Irish Essay Competition, named after the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee’s First President.

Michael Larkin was a resident of Sea Bright and President of Michael J. Larkin Associates, a global fundraising and event consulting company. He produced events in London, Bermuda and for national non-profits throughout the United States. He was Co-founder of the Sandy Hook Foundation and also produced the first three New Jersey Marathons. Michael has blessed the community as President of the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the first two years of its inception. His legacy will live on as he shared his expertise to the parade members with knowledge, fortitude and philanthropy. 

2) Name and Amount of Scholarship Award:

The Michael J. Larkin Memorial Scholarship Award (Kindly sponsored by Page Bigelow).

 1st Prize: $750, 2nd Prize: $250
 Winning essay will be posted on the parade and Library websites and other media outlets
 All participants are invited to march in the parade on March 12th in Rumson
 Winners and awards will be presented at 5th Annual Anniversary Party at Surf BBQ on Friday, March 10th, 2017

3) Mission Statement: 

The Michael J. Larkin Irish Essay Competition is committed to promoting Irish history, culture, tradition, and its influence by offering a competitive outlet for students to write about its effects with creativity, heart, and passion while further defining the connection between Ireland and America.

4) Eligibility Requirements:

Q. Who can enter the competition?

A. Rumson and Fair Haven resident students in Grades 9-12 are eligible. 

Q. How can you enter?  

A  Essays can also be saved to PDF and e-mailed to IrishEssay@rumsonstpatricksdayparade.org.  

For those who do not have access to save their papers to PDF, essays can be dropped off at the Oceanic Free Library (Attn: MJLMEC) and the Main Office of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Attn: MJLMEC). Deadline for all essays is Monday, Friday, March 3rd, 2017,

Q. Who are the judges?

  • Dr. Tracy Handerhan (RFH High School Principal)
  • Page Bigelow (Longtime friend of Michael Larkin)
  • Ann Murdock (Head of English Dept at RCDS)
  • Alyssa T.G. Anderson (English/Humanities Dept, Trinity Hall HS)
  • Brother Timothy Ahern (History Dept) CBA

*Note: It is recommended that you keep an electronic copy of your essay.

Q. When is the deadline?

A. All entries must be submitted no later than Monday, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

Q.  What is the essay topic?

A. The essay is titled “Irish-Americans in Film and Music”

Q. What will judges be looking for in the essay?

A. In general, the panel will judge essays on writer’s comprehension, organization skills, creativity, passion, and heart.

5) Contest Rules and Regulations:

  • One essay per contestant
  • Essay cover page should include essay title, author’s name, address, phone number, school, and grade
  • Must be in literary essay form typed with black ink on computer copy paper
  • On 8 ½” x 11” paper, size 12 font, double-spaced, Arial or Times New Roman with a 
1″ margin in PDF file form
  • Essay must reflect the research, original thinking, and writing of the contestant
  • Note: For essay promotional reasons, all entry original work will be published at the Irish Essay Committee’s discretion i.e. Parade, Library, RFH High School websites or media outlets.