DAR Gila Valley Chapter announces winners of the DAR Patriotic Essay Contest

Artist depiction of General George Washington at Valley Forge.

Contributed Article

GRAHAM COUNTY – This fall, the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Gila Valley Chapter offered scholarships, one valued at $500 and two at $250, to local high school students dual-enrolled at Eastern Arizona College. These students needed to be currently taking general education classes without financial assistance from the GIFT program or the school district.

In order to apply for the scholarships, the students had to submit a patriotic essay based on the required topic: How the Founding Fathers are relevant to me today as a young citizen of the United States. Of the eleven essays submitted at the end of August, shortly after the start of school, three were judged as the first, second, and third place winners. All three students are from Thatcher High School and are Samantha Palmer, Dathan Kartchner, and Mackenzee Windsor.

In a recent interview, a portion of their essays was highlighted by the judges as each winner shared their patriotic values and future plans. The judges did not know who wrote the essays until the top three essays were returned to Helen Masten, the chapter regent.

SAMANTHA PALMER  

Samantha Palmer

School: Thatcher High School Junior – Parents: Kristy and Phillip Palmer

Scholarship Opportunity

Samantha applied for this scholarship to save money on her college classes. Since she enjoys writing, she also knew it would require work to put her thoughts together. In her research, she enjoyed learning more about the rights and freedoms she experiences today.  Though it took effort on her part, writing her patriotic essay helped her to gain a stronger appreciation for this country’s values.  

Judge’s Response

For Mollie Carlin, a DAR chapter member and essay judge, Samantha’s essay caused her to reflect on how fortunate she felt to be born in the United States and reinforced the love she has for this country. It was most inspiring to read and feel the patriotic spirit of this high school student, who wrote about ways to keep these freedoms the Founding Fathers worked so hard to bring about.

Excerpt from essay

“Are we still affected by the choices of people hundreds of years ago? Yes, people sacrificed so much for what they believed was right, and their efforts are still impacting millions of youth in this great nation today! The achievements of the Founding Fathers let us chase after every one of our dreams and choose how we will live life. We each have the opportunity to freely practice religion, gain an education, be protected by the law, and countless other freedoms. Because of the Founding Fathers, our basic rights are safeguarded, and we get to make the best of our existence.”

Other Activities

In addition to her classes, Samantha is involved in cross country, tennis, Future Business Leaders of America, student council, show choir, her musical instruments, and “hanging out” with friends and family.

Future Plans

She is looking at the fields of dental hygienist and photography.

DATHAN KARTCHNER  

Dathan Kartchner

School: Thatcher High School Junior – Parents: Britni and Derek Kartchner

Scholarship Opportunity

Dathan felt that applying for this scholarship was a great way to pay for some of his college classes. He added, “What a better way to do this than by writing my thoughts on our great country.” In being dual-enrolled, he not only receives credits for high school but college as well.

Judge’s Response

Talana Hooper, a DAR chapter member and essay judge, felt that all of the essays submitted this year were outstanding. She commented that the students knew their history and understood the sacrifices made by our founding fathers.  From Dathan’s essay, she chose his concluding remarks for the excerpt quoted below.

Excerpt from essay

“Our Founding Fathers were courageous and sacrificed for us, and we must do the same for those who follow us. We must preserve the freedoms they so valiantly fought for.  We must learn from their example by being courageous and by choosing to do the right thing even when it is difficult and never give up. We must go forth serving others and set an example for the generations that will follow in our footsteps.”

Other Activities

Dathan is a member of the National Honor Society. He is also a three-sport athlete involved in running cross country, playing soccer, and tennis. With his talent for singing, he was chosen for the All-State Regional Choir during his freshman year.  

Future Plans

Currently, his career interests are physical therapy, orthodontics, and engineering, but there may be many more interests that will evolve over the next few years.

MACKENZEE WINDSOR  

Mackenzee Windsor

School: Thatcher High School Senior – Parents: Malyssa and Michael Windsor

Scholarship Opportunity

It was important for Mackenzee to apply for as many scholarships as possible in order to take responsibility for her education, lower the cost of college tuition, and assist her parents with the tuition fees. She chose to take EAC classes while in high school to get a jumpstart on her college education, knowing she would get more one-on-one attention due to the small size of the classes.

Judge’s Response

Donna Wright, a DAR chapter member and essay judge, felt that Mackenzee “stuck to the subject, expressed her gratitude for the Founding Fathers, and realized their sacrifices affected her personally.”

Excerpt from essay

“I love this country very much and grateful I have the privilege to live here and be a citizen. Though I believe our country is not perfect and has many problems that we need to work through, I am thankful that the sacrifices of the Founding Fathers have given us a way to change and fix our country’s problems while continually striving to do better.”

Other Activities

In addition to her classes, she is involved in the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Cross Country, Senior Council, and the Yearbook. She enjoys spending time with family and friends in addition to attending school sporting events, concerts, and dances.

Future Plans

She will complete her general requirements at EAC and attain a BA degree in business at the University of Arizona

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