DAR wants to hear from students

Published 9:22 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009

School may have just started, but that’s plenty of time to start a new assignment.

The Constantia chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is looking for local students to participate in the annual DAR essay contest.

“This is one way to get the kids to research our history, and learn more about American history that is maybe not touched on in the classroom,” said Debbie Chappell, chapter chairperson for the essay contest. “I just feel like it will spark that little spark that says, ‘I really enjoy learning about history outside of the classroom.’”

Elementary school and middle school students (grades five through eight) are asked to write an essay (300 to 600 words for fifth-graders, 600 to 1,000 words for middle schoolers) describing what it must have been like when the golden spike was driven at Promontory Summit, Utah, to celebrate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

“It’s a great opportunity for these students to learn about things they might not know that much about,” Chappell said.

The high school students also have a chance to participate with the contest.

All of the high school students in the city are eligible for the Christopher Columbus Essay Contest for 2009-2010. Students are asked to discuss and analyze Columbus’s early influences and experiences and how these contributed to successes and failures in his voyages of exploration.

The essays must be 800-1,200 words, and should include a bibliography with all sources listed.

The essays will be judged based on historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of material, interest, originality and grammar. The chapter will choose one winner from each grade level to move on to the state competition. From state, winners will proceed to the division competition. If a student wins the division, he or she moves on to the national competition, where winners will receive $1,200, have their essay published and have a trip to Washington, D.C., where he will read the prize-winning essay on Columbus Day (Oct. 11) of 2010.

The Constantia chapter is asking for submissions by Saturday, Dec. 5, and they are hoping teachers will encourage students to participate in the program. Students do not have to be in the public school setting to participate. Homeschoolers and private school submissions are welcomed as well.

For more information about the contest, contact Debbie Chappell at 934-3849.