ST. GEORGE — The Color Country Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented two Washington County students with citizenship awards at their monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Majestic Fields Elementary 5th-grader Marilyn Jorgensen and Crimson Cliffs senior DeMille Thurman were honored for their participation in the organization’s Junior American Citizens and Good Citizens Scholarship contests, respectively.
About the Junior American Citizens
Part of the National Daughters of the American Revolution, the Junior American Citizens Committee is the second oldest youth-oriented committee for the national organization. Founded by the Cincinnati, Ohio Chapter in 1901, the committee was organized to teach children some of the underlying principles of government, American sentiment and what it takes to be a good citizen, according to information from Tuesday’s presentation.
As part of their duties, the committee sponsors contests in art, creative expression and community service for students starting in preschool and going all the way through 12th grade.
Each contest has a yearly theme. The 2019-2020 theme was “The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment – American Women Rise and Shine.”
Ten-year-old Jorgensen was encouraged by her teacher Shannon Hinman to participate in the contest.
“Marylin in particular is a high achieving student,” Hinman said. “When I saw that the theme was about women in history and being a good citizen, I felt like this was something she was interested in.”
After challenging her young student to participate, Hinman said Jorgensen went for it and did an amazing job.
Jorgensen wrote a poem detailing the triumphs of several women throughout United States history.
When asked what compelled her to learn and write about these women, Jorgensen said she was inspired by her mom.
“My mom is a strong woman. She believes in women, and I followed in that,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen’s poem, entitled “Because of them, I can be,” reads as follows:
I used to think I couldn’t be bold or change the world.
That was until I met these women.
Helen Keller was deaf and blind, no one believed,
but when she showed them, that fact was left behind.
Virginia Apgar dreamed to be a doctor, but no girl had before.
Then she created the Apgar score.
Ruby Bridges wanted to go to school, but the rules were cruel.
With bodyguards on each side she entered with pride.
Rosa Parks didn’t care, she kept her seat to make it fair.
Hillary Clinton didn’t believe in fear,
she ran for president and got pretty near.
Grace Hopper was a coder but also was a soldier.
She showed me I can be greater and braver.
Being the first black woman in space,
made Mae Jemison a hero at the base.
Harriet Tubman born as a worker,
worked up to being a conductor and a freer.
When I met them, I realized who I am,
what I can be, and how I am a gem to the world. Thank you to them.
This is the first time the Color Country Chapter has had a Junior American Citizens award winner, Patricia Moseman, the Color Country Chapter’s committee chair over scholarships, said. She usually takes all the contest information to the schools in the fall, but it is up to the teachers whether they will encourage anyone to enter, she said.
Jorgensen’s poem won the organization’s state contest as well as the regional contest and is now being considered at the national level, Moseman said. They should hear how it does in the national arena in the first part of March.
Hinman said she is so excited for her student’s success that is makes her tear up.
“I’m just excited to see someone of her age be interested in knowing that she can look at historical figures and see their impact and apply that to her own life and then impact her community.”
Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizens Scholarship
The good citizens scholarship recognizes outstanding high school seniors who exemplify qualities of good citizenship in their homes, schools and communities, according to information from the presentation.
Like the Junior Citizens Academy, information on the scholarship is distributed to schools throughout the area in the fall, Moseman said.
The scholarship contest consists of two weighted parts.
The first part, which is 70% of the score, consists of the student describing how she/he exhibits qualities of good citizenship submitted in connection with a copy of the student’s transcripts and two letters of recommendation from adult associates including but not limited to religious leaders, employers, coaches or music instructors.
The second part, comprising 30% of the score, is a timed essay administered under the supervision of a faculty or Daughters of the American Revolution member.
The essay theme, which was unknown to Thurman until the essay portion began, was “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving it,” with a focus on how the essay writer would energize America’s youth to fully engage as effective citizens.
Thurman, a senior at Crimson Cliffs High School, said at the presentation that as a senior in a new high school he has been given several opportunities to be a leader.
Thurman was chosen as the area’s recipient to be considered for the state scholarship, and his essay is currently under consideration at the state level.
After graduation, he hopes to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then attend school to become a nurse with a minor in music.
When asked what it means to him to be a good citizen, Thurman said that it means thinking beyond himself.
“A good citizen is willing to help other people out and is concerned with the country and everybody’s well being, not just their own,” Thurman said.
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