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Local students win regional, state NSDAR Essay Contest
April 17, 2017

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Local family members, teachers, guests and members of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), attended the American history essay contest reception on Saturday, March 11 at the Station in Shepherdstown.

Out of the 139 essay entries, 12 students earned awards consisting of first, second and third place. Members of the chapter and several non-members judged the winning essays from fifth to eighth grade. Schools that participated in the contest included Shepherdstown Elementary and Middle schools; Wildwood Middle School; and St. Joseph School in Martinsburg. This year's theme was "Celebrating a Century: America's National Parks."

Congress established the National Park Service (NPS) in 1916. Today, the NPS manages approximately 84.4 million acres of national parks. In preparing for their essays, students were to pretend they were writing a journal while visiting one of the 58 national parks. They were to identify its location; discuss why and when the area was established as a national park; and what makes the park one of our national treasures.

The program began with Regent Kathy Sholl leading the NSDAR ritual, followed by the unveiling of a new lectern donated by Lt. Col. (ret.) Donald Morgan and his wife. Morgan is a retired algebra teacher. The Morgans also gave a monetary donation toward awards received by first, second and third place winners.

Morgan addressed the students directly. He strongly encouraged students to read.

In his remarks, Morgan said, "Reading is power. Reading gives you a shield of knowledge. The more you read, the more knowledge you gain."

American History Essay Committee member and Literacy Promotion Chairperson Laura Huffman gave certificates and monetary awards to each of the essay winners. First place winners read their essays to the audience.

Fifth grade winners were first place, Liam McCarthy, St. Joseph School; second place, Matthew Riordan, St. Joseph School; and third place, Carly Crowder, St. Joseph School.

Six grade winners included first place, Emily Reasbeck, St. Joseph School; second place, Katrina Hernandez, Wildwood Middle School; and third place, Suhani Aggarwal, St. Joseph School.

Seventh grade winners were first place, Dorothy Hinkle, St. Joseph School; second place, Natalie Diedericks, St. Joseph School; and third place, Kyle Stern, St. Joseph School.

Eighth grade winners included first place, Nicholas Moore, Shepherdstown Middle School; second place, Leo Cucuzzella, Shepherdstown Middle School; and third place, Nathanial Meske, St. Joseph School.

In addition to the Chapter selecting regional winners, first place essays were forwarded to the West Virginia State Society NSDAR for further consideration. The State NSDAR selected the following essay winners: Emily Reasbeck, grade 6, St. Joseph School; and Dorothy Hinkle, grade 7, St. Joseph School.

Chapter members provided a patriotic theme reception, with the children especially enjoying the red, white, and blue cupcakes with American flags, homemade cookies, and other snacks. American History Essay Contest committee members included Mary Bell; Cheryl Brown; Ann Christy; Mary Davis; Katherine Genung; Laura Huffman; Marsha Krashoc; Cheryl Losh; Susi Lynch; Sylvia Rhodes; Cheryl Rodgers; Kathy Sholl; Patty Stealey; Patricia Toffling; Polly Wharton; Janet Younkin; HoDARS Joe Khare and Mike Sholl; and Betty Reinhart, Chairman Emeritus.

Following the reception, the chapter held a brief meeting. The chapter lost one our dearest members and officers, Jean Elliott, who passed away Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. Jean will be recognized as the chapter's nomination for NSDAR National Women's History Month.

Jean was an amazing woman willing to give of herself to others. She graduated from Shepherd College in 1954 with a Bachelor's degree in Education and from Syracuse University in 1957 with a Master of Library Science. Jean joined DAR in 1974 and was soon serving as chapter treasurer. She has held many offices at all levels of DAR; among them, State Treasurer from 1980 to 1983, Chapter Regent from 1983 to 1986, Eastern District Director 1995 to 1998. She was State Regent from 1998 to 2001 and was the WV State Regent when the State Society celebrated its 100th birthday in 1999. At the time of her death, Jean was serving as State Regent and chapter Parliamentarian. Jean dedicated much of her time to our chapter. Her guidance, wit and wisdom will be missed by all.

Jean served as an officer in many other organizations including Parliamentarian for the Henrietta Bedinger Lee Society National Society Children of the American Revolution, National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, US Daughters of 1812, Daughters of Colonial Wars, United Daughters of the Confederacy, as well as participating as a 50-year member of the National Library Association. This demonstrates her commitment, dedication, and service to others.

To recognize National Women's Month, the regent gave members a ten-question quiz about famous women's accomplishments and gave little-known facts about the wives of our first four presidents. Interestingly, Martha Washington was given the title of "Lady Washington.:

The DAR is a thriving women's service organization that focuses on work in local communities to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. To learn more about the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, contact Regent Kathy Sholl at 304-876-1250. To learn more about the work of today's DAR, visit www.DAR.org.

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