DAR brings in awards

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Constantia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sure knows how to pick winners.

This year, the chapter honored Lakeland High School’s India Meissel as the chapter’s American History Teacher of the Year. Members also named DAR Member Barbara Chapman as their Community Service Award winner for the year.

Following the chapter awards, the women were sent to compete at the state level.

Both women won first place in the Virginia State DAR Awards. From there, the winners competed at the regional and national level.

Meissel was named second in the nation for history teachers, and Chapman was named third in the nation for community service.

“It’s just outstanding,” said Frances Carr, president of the Constantia chapter. “It’s just an outstanding recognition.”

According to the DAR Web site, the organization is one the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, with more than 165,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally.

At the Constantia chapter’s October meeting Wednesday morning, both winners were honored by the DAR members.

“It’s very incredible,” Meissel said. “To be recognized by your peers and to be recognized by such a wonderful organization as the DAR, that’s very special.”

This is far from the first time Meissel has been honored for her teaching.

Among her many accomplishments, Meissel also has been the recipient of the Mary V. Bicouvaris Award for Excellence in the Teaching of History, the Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Council for Social Studies and the Esther Goldman Award for Teaching Excellence given by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Meissel added that being honored alongside Chapman was a thrill in and of itself.

“I’ve known her for many years, and she’s a role model to so many,” Meissel said.

Chapman was selected for her work throughout the community, including through her church and with the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.

“As one of the founding members of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic in Suffolk, Va., I know for certain that the clinic would not be in existence today if not for the tireless volunteer efforts of Bobbie Chapman,” Terri Babineau, WTFC board member and volunteer physician, wrote in one of Chapman’s recommendation letters.

“She is an inspiration to those around her and teaches by example. When I teach medical students and residents and even my own children, I use people like her to show how to have happy and fulfilled life through service.”