Special to the Citizen
On Thursday, January 28th, The Henry Walton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored the winners of this year’s American History Essay Contest. This contest, which began in in 1895, is the oldest contest for school students in America. The assigned title for the essay was “A Colonial Family’s Reaction to the Stamp Act.” While 52 students from Morgan County Middle School, Gatewood Elementary in Eatonton and Nathaneal Greene Academy in Siloam and home schoolers from Morgan County submitted essays, only four were 1st Place Winners – one for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade.
Raynor Cathey, Chairman of the essay contest, awarded Lily Beth Copelan, Gatewood Elementary, the 1st Place Prize for her 5th grade essay. Hope Frederick, a home schooled student from Rutledge won 1st place for the 6th grade. Sarah Spivey, a home schooled student won 1st place for the 7th grade – she was also the 6th grade 1st prize winner last year. Sean Brown won the 8th grade 1st place prize.
Leona Benkoski, Henry Walton Vice Regent, said in the award’s introduction, “This contest is more than historical research. It can be seen as a life lesson. You will learn that in life you cannot win a contest unless you enter it and follow the rules. You will learn to ask for help when you need it, and you will also learn to be self-reliant. You will learn to search for the best choices and then be confident enough to choose. Writing is a learned skill. You are not born with that knowledge. Historical writing requires research, thought, organization and coming to a learned conclusion. That comes with practice and trial and error.” After the awards were given Michael Naples, who has been a long time judge in this contest, gave a short talk to the students on the importance of literacy and developing the skills to communicate clearly. At the end of the program, Chairman Cathey called Hope Frederick, the Henry Walton’s 6th grade winner, and Sarah Spivey, the 7th grade winner back to the podium where she announced that just prior to this event the District Judges awarded these two young ladies the title of District Winners and now they will go on to compete at the State level. She announced the theme of next year’s essay would be on the National Parks and extended an invitation to all to join in the fun next year where over 4,000 schools and 70,000 students will participate!