Julie Thompson and Kasey Davis, sixth grade students at Buffalo Island Central East Elementary, attended the awards ceremony for the Craighead County Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) 2009-10 American History Essay Contest.
This national American History Essay Contest was designed to promote the study of American history among the nation's youth. This year's essay topic invited students to write about the historic moment, May 10, 1869, when the golden spike was driven at Promontory Summit, Utah, celebrating the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad.
Students could choose to tell their story from the perspective of a settler planning to use the railroad, an Irish or a Chinese immigrant railroad worker, or a Native American adjusting to the expansion of the railroad.
Judging was based on historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of material, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness. The contest was open to fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in public, private, or parochial school or those who are home schooled.
Essays for fifth grade students had to be between 300 and 600 works. Essays for students in the other grades had to be between 600 and 1,000 words.
Julie's essay described the experiences that one Chinese worker may have had while working on the completion of the railroad. She portrayed his immigration experience and the racism that a Chinese worker encountered. She also discussed the feeling of accomplishment that a Chinese worker would feel in completing such a monumental task.
The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.