color painting of man with beard in formal military garb
John Philip Sousa

MOUNT VERNON — Again this year the Lucy Knox Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is inviting area students to participate in its 2023-2024 American History Essay Contests.

One contest is for grades 5 through 8, and another one for grades 9 through 12. All 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and12 grade students in a public, private, or parochial school or those who are home schooled, are eligible.

An individual student may submit an entry directly to a DAR chapter if their class or school is not participating.

The topic for grades 5 through 8 is Stars and Stripes Forever. John Philip Sousa performed this march on May 14, 1897.

The student is to imagine it is 1897 and is a newspaper reporter for The Philadelphia Times. The newspaper editor has asked for an article about the new song performed that day.

The article needs to tell about Sousa’s life and the story behind the song. It is the first performance of the song, so make sure the article includes thoughts about the music and how the audience reacts to what was seen and heard that day.

The word count for fifth graders is 300-600 words, for the sixth, seventh and eighth graders, the count is 600 to 1,000 words.

The topic for grades 9 through 12 is Patriots of the American Revolution. The student is to select a figure from the era of the American Revolution (1773-1783).

Discuss how he or she influenced the course of the American Revolution, who he or she was and his/her contribution to the founding of a new nation.

Figures may be any person, whether a well-known figure or an everyday man, woman, or child who supported the American Revolution in ways large or small. The word count for ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders is 800-1,200 words.

All of the essay must be the student’s original work. This includes all research, writing and editing. Contact Andrea Burke, committee chairperson, for the submission forms and complete information about the contests.

She can be reached at 740-501-0585 or email her at The deadline is Oct. 20, 2023.

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