Citizenship is important, said Karen Holley as she announced winners and nominees of the Good Citizen Awards from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Jessica Bell was named Thomson High Good Citizen and Joseph Meador as Harlem High Good Citizen at the Feb. 2 ceremony in Thomson.
Karen Holley congratulates DAR winner Jessica Bell.
"This is the highlight of our year," said Ms. Holley, good citizen chair of the Captain John Wilson Chapter of the DAR.
Other nominees included Emily Davis, Blakely Holley and Mark Watkins from Thomson High and Felix Chinea, Ashlie Crabtree and Megan Fox from Harlem High.
The Good Citizen honor is an important award that is widely recognized. "This is something to be proud of," Ms. Holley told the audience, which included Jessica's mother, Joseph's grandmother and other distinguished guests.
Students were judged on dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. As part of the competition, students were nominated by their schools. In addition, they filled out information sheets and wrote a patriotic essay which the winners read at the ceremony.
Writing under pressure is a difficult task, Ms. Holley said, and the students were allowed no reference materials. Students had two and a half hours to write an essay on "Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility to Preserve It."
Jessica was not nervous about the essay, saying her joint enrollment with Augusta State University had prepared her for writing under pressure. In addition, "I took government there at ASU too, and the professor really laid a good foundation."
Joseph said he had no trouble with the essay, although he was nervous at first. "Once I started writing, it was good."
Three judges, using blind tests, evaluated the essays and other materials to select the Good Citizen winners from the Captain John Wilson Chapter.
Speaking to the audience, Jessica said she hopes to attend Harvard where she plans to double major in biology and English, and minor in French.
Joseph said he plans to either join the Navy, or to attend college and study biomedical engineering with a goal of researching diseases.
Winners received $50 savings bonds from First National Bank.
As part of the ceremony, Jessica and Joseph read their essays.