DAR holds annual essay contest

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

“Four score and seven years ago”—that’s how Abraham Lincoln started off his essay, or speech rather. How students choose to begin theirs is at their own discretion.

The American History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, invites students, from fifth to eighth grade, to submit an essay on the topic of “What message did the Gettysburg Address communicate to our war-torn nation in 1863? How are the ideals articulated in the speech still relevant for our country today?”

The essay topic asks students to reflect on the words of the former president and link the past to the present, describing how Lincoln’s words apply to the political realm today.

“A price was paid for the independence of our country,” said Frances Carr, regent of the Constantia Chapter of DAR. “Students will write an essay on some of the founding fathers. This is why we are who we are today.”

Students’ essays will be critiqued on historical accuracy, interest, organization, creativity, spelling and grammar, topic adherence, neatness and punctuation.

Member of Constantia Chapter of DAR, Dorothy Gibson is supportive of the contest and encourages all students to apply.

By entering in the contest, “the students will be learning a lot,” said Dorothy Gibson. “It will help them get back into history and the knowledge of what happened before.”

Carr shared similar incentives.

“Research will make them better aware,” said Carr. “Students should learn so that they can continue to carry the torch after the rest of us cannot.”

The national contest is open to all students, in public, private or parochial school. Applicants should submit their essays to their local DAR Chapter.

Other essays contests are available for high school students and fourth-graders. Word length requirements for the contest vary based on grade level, as do topics. The essay contests afford students the opportunity to dig into American history while simultaneously reflecting on current events.

“I think this will be very beneficial for the students,” said Gibson. “I’m happy that they have the opportunity to do so.”

For more information on the essay contest, contact Gibson at (757) 562-4893 or Debbie Chappell at 757-934-3849. Information may also be found at www.dar.org.