Students Win Regional and State DAR Essay Contest | Journal News


SHEPHERDSTOWN — Local family members, teachers, guests and members of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) recently attended the reception for the American History Essay Contest at Shepherdstown Train Station.

The purpose of the NSDAR American History Committee is to advance American history throughout the year by honoring significant historical people, places, dates and events. It does this by sponsoring the American History Essay Contest. In many cases, the essay contest provides an additional opportunity for teachers to go beyond the existing curriculum. The committee also encourages chapters to promote American history in other ways, such as by recognizing women in American history.

Chair Janet Younkin and committee members distributed contest rules, collected essays from students, arranged for essay judging, and hosted the reception. Out of 60 essay submissions, 10 students received prizes consisting of first, second and third place. Chapter members and several non-members judged the winning essays. Essays are judged on historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of material, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and cleanliness.

Students followed NSDAR competition rules to write essays on the following topic for 2021–2022: November 11, 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Imagine you had a brother who lost his life on the battlefields of France during the First World War. You and your family attended the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1921 in Washington, DC. Describe what this meant for you and your family. Why is it important to remember those who gave their lives to serve our nation?

The greeting was given by Regent Cindy Nicewarner. She said, “This is one of the most treasured traditions of our chapter, and we particularly look forward to the reading of the first-place essays each year.”

The ritual was given by Nicewarner and Chaplain Lois Kimble. Younkin recognized Annette Breen from St. Joseph’s School and Cheryl Reilly from Charles Town Middle School. Younkin said, “We appreciate all students who wrote essays and thank teachers for submitting their students’ work. All students who have written essays are winners in learning about our nation’s history.”

Younkin distributed certificates and cash prizes to each of the essay winners. A total of 60 students from St. Joseph School in Martinsburg and Charles Town Middle School entered the essay competition. Chapter member Joyce Englebright photographed the award winners.

First essay winners received $50, a certificate, and a bronze medal; second place received $25 and a winner’s certificate; Third place received $20 and a certificate. Everyone else received a certificate of participation.

The winners read their essays to the audience. The winners of the essay contest were:

Fifth Grade: First Place – Noah Harding, St. Joseph.

Sixth Grade: First Place – Victoria Knapp, St. Joseph; second place – Thu Hoang, St. Joseph; Third place – Rebecca Par, St. Joseph.

Seventh Grade: First Place, Jackson Allen, St. Joseph; second place, Lorna Cramaro-Foulkes, St. Joseph; third place, Freyja Drflak, St. Joseph.

Eighth Class: First Place, Brandon Stuart, St. Joseph; second place, Arabella Cole, St. Joseph; Third place, Bailey Summers, St. Joseph.

In addition to the chapter selecting the regional winners, the essays of the top winners were forwarded to the WV State Society DAR for further review. The WV Landesgesellschaft DAR has selected the following essay winners:

First place: Victoria Knapp, sixth grade, St. Joseph

First place: Jackson Allen, seventh grade, St. Joseph

Third place: Brandon Stuart, eighth grade, St. Joseph

Honorable Mention: Noah Harding, Fifth Grade, St. Joseph

First place winners advance to the East Central DAR Division for judging. First place winners advance to the national level competition.

Younkin served as chair of the American History Essay Committee for three years and has announced that this awards cycle is her last as chair of the committee. In recognition of her leadership of the committee and for her unwavering commitment to this competition and to the students, she was presented with a certificate from Nicewarner at the awards ceremony on March 5th.

Nicewarner said: “Thank you Janet for your years of service on this committee and for your three years as Chair. You have done a great job at this competition every year!”

Following the ceremony, chapter members offered a patriotic reception. American History Essay Committee members included Ann Christy; Becki Hill; Marsha Krashock; Cheryl Losh; Kathy Soll; Patty Stealey; and LouAnn Stovall. Non-DAR judges were Mike Sholl and Stuart Younkin.

DAR members come from a variety of backgrounds and interests, but all share a common bond of having an ancestor who helped secure the independence of the United States of America. Daughters are vibrant, active women who are passionate about community service to preserve history, raise children, and honor and support those who serve our nation. Any woman over the age of 18, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can demonstrate direct descent from a patriot of the American Revolution may join. If you are interested in learning more about the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, contact Regent Cindy Nicewarner at [email protected] To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit


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