Bloomfield students win prizes in DAR essay contest

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Two American history essays, written by Bloomfield elementary school students and judged by the Bloomfield chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will be considered for state honors in the 2022-23 DAR essay competition. The students are Gabrielle Tyre, a fifth-grader at Watsessing Elementary School, and Kirsten Odom, a sixth-grader who attends Carteret Elementary School. 

Although quill pens were not required, for the essay topic, the students had to think of themselves as American colonists. The DAR guideline was the following: “The Second Continental Congress met from May 10, 1775, to March 1, 1781, and included delegates from all 13 colonies. The congress was instrumental in shaping what was to become the United States of America. Imagine you are a delegate during 1775-76. Which colony are you from and what will be important for you to accomplish for your colony?

“Delegate to the Second Continental Congress: How will the essential actions of a good citizen (dependability, service, leadership and patriotism) help meet the challenges that America faces this decade?”

Essays had to be 300-600 words for fifth-graders and 600-1,000 words for sixth-graders. 

Bonnie Sharkey, the regent for the Maj. Joseph Bloomfield chapter of the DAR, said that although grades 5-8 were notified of the competition, inexplicably only fifth- and sixth-graders responded this year.

“All seven Bloomfield elementary schools were invited to participate, including the middle school,” Sharkey said. “But only Carteret, Watsessing, Oak View, Franklin and Fairview sent entries.”

Fifth-graders accounted for 40 essays, she said, while there were 44 by sixth-graders. Essays written by fifth- and sixth-graders were judged as separate groups, and only three essays from each group were awarded a place; however, all essay writers received a certificate of appreciation. The judges were Bloomfield DAR members Anita Magatti, a vice-regent who resides in Verona, and Margo Perl, of West Caldwell. 

“The essays of our two first-place winners were submitted to the state,” Sharkey added, “but we have not heard if either of them won a state prize.”

The Bloomfield DAR will have its chapter awards ceremony on Tuesday, March 14, at the Civic Center. First-place winners will receive a medal and a certificate identifying them as chapter winners. All first-, second- and third-place winners will receive a plaque, a flag, a flag pin and flag information.

Sharkey also provided the names of the second- and third-place winners. Fifth-grader Adelyn Villarreal from Carteret and sixth-grader Madelyn Cole from Oak View won second-place prizes, and fifth-grader Madison Scotto from Oak View and sixth-grader Jahbari Harilall from Carteret won third-place prizes.

“If we have any state winners, they will be invited to an awards ceremony at the N.J. Daughters of the American Revolution at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township in April,” Sharkey said.

The Maj. Joseph Bloomfield DAR chapter has 47 members.