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FairfaxEducationStudents lauded for success in DAR essay contest

Students lauded for success in DAR essay contest

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Three local students recently were recognized for their winning entries in the NSDAR (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution) American History Contest, sponsored by the Freedom Hill DAR chapter of McLean.

All three students earned bronze medals and received a certificate for their efforts.

– McKenzie Watt of McLean, a fifth-grade student at Potomac School, won at the local level, then advanced at the district and state levels. She received a silver medal and a special certificate at the state level, and her essay is now in contention for the Eastern Division and national contests. If she wins at the national level, she will garner a monetary award and a gold medal.

– Zachary Vlissides of Great Falls, a sixth-grade student at St. Luke’s School in McLean, captured top honors for his grade level.


– Nicco Gozzi of McLean, a seventh-grade student at St. Luke’s School in McLean, also won for his grade level.

“We were so delighted for these three local students and we were so impressed by their respective essays. We are wishing McKenzie success as her essay continues to contend for the National DAR contest,” Freedom Hill chapter Regent Linda Abravanel noted.

The backdrop for the 2020 essay contest was the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre. Students were asked to imagine what it was like to live in Boston, to witness the events, and then to describe their family’s discussion about the events and what role they played in organizing the colonists against the British king and Parliament.

Watt and Gozzi were honored at the April 3 Freedom Hill chapter meeting for their accomplishments. They each read their winning essays and enjoyed conversation with the Freedom Hill Chapter members. Vlissides will be recognized later.

“I liked writing my story for the DAR writing contest because I was able to learn more about an interesting event in our history,” Watt said. “It was able to think about what it might be like to grow up at that time. Because of COVID, I have not been able to do much during the weekends, and writing my story gave me something to look forward to. I was nervous to read my story to so many people on Zoom, but felt really good once I did because I didn’t mess up, and I had my brother with sound effects for the story to bring it to life.”

“Our chapter was indeed honored to receive and read these essays, and are so pleased that our local students have an appreciation of the events that shaped this wonderful country that we call our home, America,” noted Jill Cook, first vice regent of the Freedom Hill chapter.

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