Student essays bring American Revolution to life

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Wearing colonial costume, D.A.R. members Phyllis Jones, left, and Suzanne Wiliams, right, pose with American History Essay Contest winners Owen Cisco, second from left, Llefer Vasquex-Jaurez and Max Jones.

GREEN FOREST -- "My name is John Greenwood." "My name is James Forten." "My name is James Jones."

Like an episode of "To Tell the Truth," three Green Forest students stood in front of their fifth-grade classmates last Thursday and related the adventures of three boys who took part in the American Revolution. Unlike contestants on the television panel show, however, all were telling the truth.

The three students were winners in the American History Essay Contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Abendschone Chapter.

Taking first place was Owen Cisco, 10, who wrote about John Greenwood, a 15-year-old fife player who ran away from home and joined the 26th Massachusetts Regulars, who fought at Bunker Hill. Cisco, whose parents, grandparents and great-grandmother attended the awards ceremony, received a medal, a certificate and a check for $50.

His essay will be entered in the state contest. The state winner goes to the national contest, with the name of the winner entered into the Congressional Record.

Taking second place and $25 was Llelfer Vasquex-Juarez, 11, who wrote about James Forten, a free black 14-year-old who joined the King's Army in 1775, served as a powder boy on an American privateer, was captured by the British and when imprisoned, gave up a chance to escape to another prisoner.

Eleven Green Forest fifth-graders submitted essays, including, from left, Megan Parton, Jaycee Doty, Kahlan Lindstrom, Kassidy Walker, Alassandra Holsted, Elijah Coffey and Macy Smalley, right. Garrett Gordon was absent to participate in a spelling bee.

Max Jones' essay, which took third place, described the life of James Jones, the son of a Minuteman who responded to Paul Revere's call, and also took up his musket against the British. Max received a check for $25.

In all, 11 students in Green Forest Intermediate School's gifted and talented program entered the essay contest, which complemented their study of American history. Teacher Jan Scheel said she encouraged her students to incorporate details of life during that era into their narrative essays. She also bought three books -- "A Young Patriot," "The Brave Women and Children of the American Revolution" and "Eighteen Roses Red" -- for the school library.

"They loved 'Eighteen Roses Red,'" Scheel said. "It gave them an idea of how to create a character."

Students also learned to edit their essays to conform to the 600-word limit and how to rewrite -- one student submitted five drafts, Scheel said. To have their essays eligible for the contest, the students had to include a bibliography and a title page with required information, D.A.R. member Suzanne Williams said.

This is the seventh year that the Abendschone Chapter has held the American History Essay Contest, which is open to Carroll County students in fifth through eighth grades. Attending the awards ceremony at Green Forest Intermediate School were Cisco's mother, Jennifer Mosier, father and stepmother Tommy and Laura Cisco, grandparents Mike and Donna Cisco and Don and Kay Randolph, and great-grandmother Opal Shoumake.

Llelfler's mother, Elia Vasquex-Juaraz, attended the ceremony, as did Max's parents, Eric and Janet Jones.

Members of the D.A.R. are descendants of patriots who served in the American Revolution. At the awards ceremony, Phyllis Jones presented a talk about the roles of women in the American Revolution and profiled famous women, including Molly Pitcher, a battlefield water carrier; Margaret Corbin, who took over as gunner when her husband fell defending Fort Washington; and Mammy Kate, who rescued her master from a British prison by carrying him out in a laundry basket. Jones said her four-great grandfather served in the American army, and her five-great grandmother provided supplies.

DAR members Judy Germani and Stella Buckman helped present the awards. Founded in Eureka Springs in 1951, the Abendschone Chapter is named in honor of Reinhold Abendschone of Berks County, Penn., an ancestor of May Fuller, a founding member.

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