DAR honors Good Citizens for 2023

Published 4:33 pm Friday, December 1, 2023

The Yadkin River Patriots Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognized seven high school seniors as DAR Good Citizens at the DAR meeting on Nov. 17 at the Stanly County Family YMCA Pavilion.

Yadkin River Patriots Chapter Regent Joan Eudy welcomed the students, family members, guidance counselors and other school representatives. Everyone was invited to join members of the DAR chapter for refreshments and to hear the students read their essays.

This year’s DAR Good Citizens are Mattie Grace Story, North Stanly High School; Mark Allan Lappin, Gray Stone Day School; Rylee Jayna Klinger, Stanly Stem Early College; Kiersten Renae Hollis, South Stanly High School; Kaelynn Sue Guyette, West Stanly High School; Marian Garcia-Hernandez, Albemarle High School; and Callie Jo Ball, Stanly Early College.

Pat Bramlett, chairperson of the DAR Good Citizen committee, with the help of Sandy Rogers, presented each DAR Good Citizen with a personalized framed DAR Good Citizen certificate, a DAR Good Citizen pin, a chart explaining the pin’s significance and a wallet card.

Callie Jo Ball, a student at Stanly Early College, was recognized as the local DAR chapter’s winning DAR Good Citizen for 2023. She received a check for $100 from the local DAR chapter and will advance to the district level of competition.

Callie Jo Ball, a student at Stanly Early College, was the winner of the Yadkin River Patriots 2023 DAR Good Citizen Award. (Contributed)

The DAR Good Citizens program and essay contest are intended to encourage and reward the qualities of good citizenship. The program is open to high school seniors. One student per high school is recognized each year.

The DAR scholarship program consists of two parts.

Part I Personal includes: a) a list of the student’s participation in high school activities, offices held, awards received and areas of special interest; b) a description of service to their community (home, school, place of worship); c) future plans, educational and career goals and aspirations in life; d) extracurricular activities, after-school or summer jobs, hobbies, etc.; and e) a description of how they have demonstrated the qualities of a good citizen in four areas: Dependability, Service, Leadership and Patriotism. Also required are a copy of their transcript and two letters of recommendation.

Part II is a timed essay to be written by the student during one sitting under the supervision of a faculty member. The essay can be no more than 550 words and must be completed within two hours without assistance. A dictionary is the only reference material allowed. The students have no prior knowledge of the essay prompt.

The essay title for 2023 was “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It.” This year’s Focus Question was: “What are the civic responsibilities of a good citizen, and why are these duties, activities and behaviors important to the shaping of the America you hope to experience?”

The essays and other documents are all submitted to non-DAR judges who independently evaluate the student’s descriptions of their qualities of a good citizen and how well they addressed the essay topic. The judge’s scoring is done using forms provided by the National Society of the DAR.

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Callie Jo Ball’s winning essay appears below:

Essay Title: “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It.”

Focus Question: “What are the civic responsibilities of a good citizen and why are these duties, activities and behaviors important to the shaping of the America you hope to experience?”

In a modern world where civic responsibilities and responsibilities, in general, seem to be dwindling away, it is vital that we all, as members of our society, assume the traits of a good citizen. One may ask, “What are those traits?” Well, the traits of a good citizen are dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. It is of the utmost importance to the success of our culture that we all exemplify these traits.

A good citizen should, first and foremost, be an upstanding citizen; whether by observing the rules of the road, helping out one’s church, running for office, voting for the leadership of our towns/cities/states/nation or simply by teaching our children the difference between right and wrong. In a time where technology is rapidly advancing and the new generation is drastically pulling away from our heritage, we must find a way to bring them back to the history of our great nation.

From 1776 to the present year of 2023, we have moved far from what our ancestors came to America for. We have forgotten that they came here for religious freedom, free speech, freedom of assembly, the right to democracy, to have a voice in the issues that face their society and to make better lives for themselves and their families. The pilgrims endured a treacherous voyage across the vast ocean aboard the Mayflower (and others), a wooden ship that, if sprung a leak, could have plunged them to the fathoms below; let alone the challenges of cleanliness, health and nutrition. All of this for the rights that we are simply born with in our present society.

Nowadays, we are able to protest freely and say whatever we believe without fear of imprisonment or death. In this day and age, we can just drive down the road to the nearest store and pick up over-the-counter medications, fresh fruits/vegetables/meats and wooly coats for the winter when it could take a year or more to even gain the wool to make a coat or to grow vegetables to sustain one’s family throughout the winter. It is important to keep this in mind; furthermore, if we commit to holding ourselves accountable for the betterment of our society, we will succeed in bringing it back to its former glory.

We must strive to uphold the traits of a good citizen for these reasons, but, primarily, because we must safeguard our society for later generations. Not to mention that embodying these traits will help to shape the America that I wish to experience in my time here on earth. By being an active member of our communities, we can truly make a difference.

Visiting back on civic responsibilities, I believe that if everyone takes charge and votes for and/or runs in elections, strives to maintain healthy relationships with family and friends, takes time to teach one’s children how to be good citizens, voices opinions without bashing the government and the choices that are made and endeavors to uphold the laws and regulations that are placed, even when we disagree, then our nation will not only have a chance of survival but it will soar like a mighty eagle free from the chains that being a stagnant member of society can place on us.