George Washington essay winner links president’s perseverance to his own military family | Washington News


Carolyn R. Wilson | For Washington County News

ABINGDON, Va. — Nine-year-old Eli Brooks had a particular reason for wanting to enter this year’s George Washington Essay Contest through his school.

The assignment to write about the nation’s first president was a bit more personal for the High Point Elementary student because Eli’s father, David Brooks, serves in the Army National Guard as a chaplain to the 429th brigade support battalion.

In a phone call last week, father and son agreed that Brooks was fighting for the same country that George Washington helped start.

Eli’s research essay, titled “George Washington: America’s Father,” won first place in the Research Essay Contest, an annual event for Washington County fourth graders. As the school district’s top winner, the student won an all-expenses-paid trip to Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Virginia for him and his family.

The Washington essay prize comes just weeks after Eli placed second in the Black Fort Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter essay contest, in which he shared his thoughts on what the American flag means. for him.

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“The school year has been full of outstanding accomplishments for this young scholar,” said Jennifer O’Neill, Principal of High Point Elementary.

Kylie Griffith, who teaches Virginia Studies at High Point Elementary, said, “Eli provides valuable and meaningful input into our class discussions, I think that carries over to his writing.”

Second place in the Washington Essay Contest went to Blake Wise of Abingdon Elementary and third place to Evan Pierce of Watauga Elementary.

The three students read their winning essays before an audience of parents, students and school administrators at a ceremony in the ballroom of the Martha Washington Inn last week. Students were recognized for their exemplary skills in researching and preparing essays.

The school system resumed its tradition of holding the ceremony at the Abingdon Inn after COVID-19 restrictions moved the ceremony to a shortened service at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center last year.

Dressed in Colonial attire, retired educators David Winship and Katie Mitchell played the roles of George and Martha Washington during the event. The Muster Grounds Musick Fife and Drum Corps played historical period music.

The top three district winners received monetary awards and commemorative George Washington coins.

Additionally, the 21 student finalists who represent the top three winners in each of the county’s seven elementary schools received cash and copies of the book “George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”

Winning essay

Eli wrote in his essay that “George Washington was a wise and courageous leader with good character. He wasn’t perfect, but he never gave up and he brought America to life. We all owe him so much for this country and the freedoms we enjoy today.

Eli’s father said his son has a knack for sharing his feelings through his writing.

“My son’s eyes are very open to the struggles we have to go through as a military family,” Brooks said. “We talk about the sacrifices the military have to make and the kind of support they need from us to do their job.”

During the phone interview, Eli said that if he had the opportunity to meet George Washington today, he would talk to the former president about leading the United States military to victory in the American War. ‘independence.

The student said he admired the president’s “don’t give up” attitude.

The competition

The competition, sponsored by the Washington County Educational Fund, Dr. John Lentz of Abingdon and Washington County Public Schools, requires participating students to write essays of 300 to 500 words and use at least three different sources for the research.

Lentz designed the voluntary essay contest nearly 10 years ago to stimulate the interest of all Washington County fourth graders. The competition encourages students to learn more about George Washington as an individual and a leader. Students are encouraged to use school and public libraries for their projects.

Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at [email protected]


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