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Fifth-grader is surprised when history essay wins DAR contest

Kasey Williford started his day feeling pretty nervous recently. As the day progressed, he was pleasantly surprised.

Kasey was announced the overall winner of the American History Essay Contest during a ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 3. Held at the McDuffie County Library, the ceremony was hosted by the Capt. John Wilson Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution to recognize all participants and their families.

"It was a shock," Kasey said after the ceremony. "I was so nervous when we were getting ready to come because I was wondering who won."

Fifth-graders are nominated by their teachers to participate in the contest. This year, students had to write an essay as if they were a traveler, Irish or Chinese worker, or Native American when the golden spike was driven to celebrate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.

Kasey said he had learned "a little bit" about the golden spike in his social studies class, and used that information, along with another book, to write his essay.

"Well, I'm always good in school and I make good grades, plus my favorite thing is history," he said, adding that he also likes "anything football."

Three judges were provided anonymous copies of the students' essays, which they reviewed to select the winner.

Kasey's mother, Shonda Williford, his younger sister, Miranda, and his grandfather, Harold Coker all were present at the awards ceremony. Kasey was asked by essay contest co-chairwoman Gladys Rodgers to read his essay aloud.

"I was blown away," he said.

Other winners in the essay contest were Brianna Jeter and Dakotah Wagner. The three students are in the fifth grade at Dearing Elementary School.

Each student was presented a certificate during the ceremony. Kasey also was presented a U.S. Savings Bond by George Lokey of First Bank of Georgia.

To read Kasey's essay, see page 4A.

Web posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010

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