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Mary Jackson Duffe, state DAR regent, presents Abbie Stewart with her certificate for taking first-place honors statewide in the sixth-grade division of the American history essay contest for students in fifth through eighth grades.

Special to The Banner
The Duncan Banner

On Feb. 23, the Duncan Indian Territory Chapter of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, met to honor local and area students who participated in the Christopher Columbus essay contest for students in ninth through 12th grades, and the American history essay contest for students in fifth through eighth grades.

The winner in the fifth-grade division was Jasmine Muchow, a 12-year-old student at Plato Elementary School. Abbie Stewart, a 12-year-old student at Duncan Middle School, took first-place honors in the sixth-grade division. Mary Kay Lentz, American history chairman for the local chapter, made the presentations.

First- through third-place winners received certificates and medals, and the first-place essays were then sent to the DAR state American history chairman for statewide judging.

Jasmine and Abbie were excited when they won the local contest, and were thrilled when they were informed that their essays had won honors at the state level, too — Abbie’s winning first place, and Jasmine’s taking second in their respective divisions. The girls went to Midwest City May 15 to receive their awards.

“They are calling it The Youth Awards Afternoon. It was at the Sheraton Reed Center in Midwest City. All state winners, first through third places, received certificates. First-place state winners received a monetary prize, also,” Lentz said.

Essays were judged on historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, grammar and spelling.

Assignment for the American history essay was “What message did the Gettysburg Address communicate to our war-torn nation in 1863? How are the ideals articulated in the speech still relevant for our country today?”

Jasmine is the daughter of Tanya Tienken and Stacy Jay Muchow, both of Duncan, and the granddaughter of John and Linda Tienken of Duncan.

“We are very proud of her,” her grandmother said. “The essay had to be 300 to 600 words, and halfway through, she had more than 700 words and had to keep cutting back. When it was finished, she said, ‘Oh, man, that was fun!’ and she wanted to do another essay right away.”

Jasmine enjoyed doing the research from the encyclopedia, the Smithsonian magazine and other materials she found in her grandparents’ home.

“It took her about four days to finish the essay, but she did it all without help from the Internet,” Linda Tienken said.

Abbie’s parents are Kevin and Edie Stewart of Duncan. She is the granddaughter of Gomer and Kay Smith of Cyril, and Carol Stewart of McAlester.

“I wrote an essay when I was in the fifth grade, and it ended up in second place, so I thought I’d try it again this year,” Abbie said. “I used the Internet for my research, along with a book about Abe Lincoln I got from the Duncan Public Library.

“I was glad when I won the county contest, and really excited when I found out I had won at the state level, too.”

Abbie’s essay has been forwarded to the South Central Division of NSDAR for further judging, Lentz said.

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