La Plata, MD – Evangeline Gilmer, a Benjamin Stoddert Middle School eighth grader, and Kenneth Edgerton, a fifth grader at Mary H. Matula Elementary School, recently received state awards in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) 2017 American History Essay Contest. The contest was open to students in grades five through eight and featured the theme of Celebrating a Century: American’s National Parks.

Gilmer earned a first-place state award and Edgerton received a third-place state award. The top two first-place entries judged at the local level advance to the state competition. Both Gilmer and Edgerton won first place in the local competition, coordinated by the Port Tobacco Chapter of the NSDAR.

This is the third consecutive year that Gilmer has received a first-place award at the state level. Her essay advances to the regional level of competition, of which those winners become eligible to compete at the national level for a monetary award.

As part of the contest, students had to conduct research and write essays about the National Park Service, what it would be like to visit one of the 58 national parks and discuss what they think is significant about the parks. Winners in the local competition will be honored at a 3 p.m. awards ceremony on May 7 at the Maryland Veterans Memorial Museum in Glasva, where contest submissions will be on display.

Gilmer’s favorite subject is science but she said she enjoys reading and writing. Her essay was about the Grand Canyon, a place she once visited with her family. “It is just so impossibly big. You stand on one side of the canyon and it takes up your whole view. It is beautiful and looks more like a drawing than a park. The colors are amazing,” Gilmer said.

Edgerton also chose to write his essay about a place he has visited with family – Gettysburg National Park. “It is one of the only national parks I have been to and it is only a few hours away. The park is interesting to me because it is a place where a famous Civil War battle took place,” Edgerton said.

Two additional students, Matula fifth graders Kyra Shafer and Elaina Winkler, will be recognized at the May awards ceremony for receiving second- and third-place awards at the local competition. A total of 35 CCPS students submitted entries for the local contest.

For more information about the essay contest and other contests available through the Daughters of the American Revolution, visit The Daughters of the American Revolution is a non-profit volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through education.