Eight students from Saint Joseph School placed in an American history essay contest sponsored by the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
A total of 63 students in grades five through eight from four schools took part in the competition. They wrote essays from the viewpoint of newspaper reporters for The Times in Philadelphia in May 1897 who were assigned to write stories about the first performance of John Phillip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” They wrote about the composer’s life and the story behind the song, which became the national march of the United States on Dec. 11, 1987. They were also told to include their thoughts about the music and how the audience reacted to what they saw and heard the day of that inaugural presentation.
Placing from SJS, a private Catholic school in Martinsburg, were:
Fifth grade: Lillia Kelley, second place; and Calvin Fanjoy, third place
Sixth grade: Liam Riffey, first place; Lorelei Oligmueller, second place; and Aubrey Lee, third place
Eighth grade: Braylen Cole, first place; Charlie Dunn, second place; and Savannah Bischoff, third place
The first-place essays were sent to the state chairwoman for judging. The winners at the state level will advance to the district/regional level, then perhaps to the national competition.
Each essay was judged by one DAR member and two nonmembers. About 10 members of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter and more than 20 nonmembers evaluated the students’ essays.
A ceremony and reception honoring contest winners is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Train Station, where those who placed first will read their essays. All winners will receive certificates and cash prizes.