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Cappy Culver eighth grader wins countywide essay contest 

Juan Farias wins DAR essay contest

Essay contest winner Juan Farias with parents Jose and Monica and DAR committee Sharon Wilson, Sally McFarlane and Lida Lucas. Photographs by Jackie Iddings

Local win places Juan Farias’ essay in the state level competition

–Juan Farias, an eighth grader from Cappy Culver Elementary School, is the San Luis Obispo County winner for the 2015 American History Essay Contest. The contest is held every year by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The announcement was made at a Friday morning assembly and certificates were presented by Sharon Wilson from the El Paso de Robles chapter of DAR. Sierra Laucella and Austin Williams, two more eighth graders from Cappy Culver also received certificates of participation for their essays. Wilson said the next step is entering Farias’ essay in the state level competition.

This year’s topic was “A Colonial Family’s Reaction to the Stamp Act.” The American History Essay Contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about US history and learn about history in a new light. The annual contest is open to students in grades five through eight and a separate contest is held for high school seniors. The essays are judged by panels of local DAR volunteers throughout the year. One local winner is selected from each grade and that winning essay is automatically qualified for the state level contest.

DAR essay contest participants Cappy Culver School

Cappy Culver School essay contest participants Juan Farias, Austin Williams and Sierra Laucella

Farias stated, “My teacher said it was a good essay and I should enter it. I didn’t think it would win anything.” When asked what he found most challenging about writing the essay, Farias said, “The conclusion. It’s hard to write a conclusion without repeating things.”

“We are very proud of Juan,” said his parents Jose and Monica. “He is an excellent student. Math is his favorite subject and we were a happy when he got so involved in researching and writing the essay.” The Farias family lives in Heritage Ranch.

Language arts teacher Libby DeKorte and history teacher Jody Brown provided support for the students. “At the time we were reading ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and the students decided they wanted to use a journal format for their essays.” stated DeKorte. DeKorte coached the students with language skills and grammar. Brown guided the students in fact checking for historical accuracy

“The students did all of the research and writing themselves,” stated Principal Stephanie Schofield. “The contest was open to everyone but not every student chose to participate. Just the fact that they did is quite something. We are very proud.”

This contest is open to students in public, private, and parochial schools, and registered home-study programs. Each year, a selected topic for use during the academic year is announced, and contest instructions are published online and sent to schools by participating DAR chapters. Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness.

Participating chapters send one winning essay from each of the four grades for judging on the state level. The state will send one winning essay from each of the four grades to be judged on a divisional level. The winning essay from each of the four grades will then be judged on the national level and the winners are announced.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.