DAR announces contest winners

By By MASON BLANFORD mblanford@paducahsun.com

Several McCracken County students were recognized recently for their accomplishments in the annual Daughters of the American Revolution youth contests.

The students competed at local chapter levels before advancing to statewide, a five-state division area and then nationwide.

A prevalent theme this year for the contests was the national parks system, in celebration of the American Park System's 100th anniversary.

Themes of past years have focused on history and American culture.

"What we do is encourage them to look at history," said DAR Youth Committee Chairman Cindy Byrd. "To put their thoughts on patriotism, history, education and conservation down -- and give them an opportunity to compete at all levels."

Cheryl Bendick, regent for the NSDAR Paducah Chapter, said she's seen increased involvement in recent years by students. A good thing, since the contest has also helped students with resumes and various scholarships.

"Ultimately this gives these children an opportunity to prepare for challenges facing them as they approach high school and college," Bendick said. "This is great for the students, because this does help motivate them."

Byrd agreed with increased involvement in recent years, adding the contest inspired inclusivity at all levels.

The Junior American Citizen contest in particular allows students from special needs to gifted alike to be judged on "their own level."

"Students (also) don't need high academics to compete and win nationally," she said. "In some contests if you're not a good writer, you don't have a chance, but here other skills such as drawing come out."

Certificates are soon to be awarded.