The Emily Geiger Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution announced winners from two local schools for the American History Essay Contest: Oscar Conley, fifth grade, Ava Pratt, sixth grade, and Claire Capell, eighth grade from Cross Schools; and MaKenzy Sluiter, seventh grade, from McCracken Middle School.

The four winning essays will be submitted for consideration in the state finals, and the state winner will go on to the national competition.

DAR Chapter Regent Debi Bacon and Ann Piercy, American History chairperson, presented the special awards at the monthly chapter meeting Feb. 8 in the community meeting room of Palmetto Electric Cooperative in Hardeeville. “The DAR committees for each grade had very tough choices with 104 original student essays that are historically accurate and represented excellent writing skills,” Piercy said.

All student writers received a Certificate of Participation from the chapter.

DAR Chapters nationwide are encouraged to conduct the American History essay contests for fifth through eighth grades. This year’s national essay topic for all participating grades acknowledged the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The title required for each essay was “World War I: Remembering the War to End All Wars.”

All grades were given the same criteria: Imagine living in 1918, then describe where you live and how the end of the war impacted daily life, the pros and cons of the changes this war introduced to society, and how those changes would impact the United States in the future.

Beverly Camp-Mugford, a judge for the local competition, said, “I can tell you from judging fifth grade essays, it takes some time and consideration, and research. … I learned more about WWI than I did in school.”

The Emily Geiger Chapter has been participating in the national DAR American History essay contests for more than 11 years. The national guidelines are very specific for writers, including word count and bibliography. Fifth grade essays must be 300-600 words, and sixth through eighth grade essays must be 600-1,000 words.

The Emily Geiger Chapter with members from Bluffton and surrounding areas of Beaufort County organizes and supports historic preservation, local patriotic activities, and educational outreach through literacy, scholarships and awards.

For information on the Emily Geiger Chapter, contact Bacon at 410-375-3416.