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Dar Essay Contest Ellis Island

GRANGEVILLE — A regional essay contest made way for Grangeville Elementary Middle School social studies teacher Betty Nafziger to open a new historical chapter for her eighth grade students.

The Alice Whitman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Lewiston, sponsored its annual essay contest which for 2014 was themed viewing Ellis Island through a child’s eyes.

“It’s not a piece of history I normally teach, but it was good to be able to add it and spend a little time on it,” said Nafziger, who has had the opportunity to visit New York as part of a history teacher program.

Having her students write essays on Ellis Island paid off for Nafziger and her students – in more ways than one.

Student Jillian Hausladen earned first place in the contest while Chloe Dame and Danny Kaschmitter received honorable mentions.

“Not only was there the historic study and the process of writing the essays – which included typing and formatting correctly – but Jillian will now have the experience of public speaking when she reads her essay at the DAR meeting,” Nafziger said.

Hausladen has been invited to read her essay and receive a monetary award and certificate at the Feb. 21 meeting in Lewiston.

Hausladen wrote 942 words in her piece titled “A Child’s Journey Through Ellis Island.”

An excerpt from Hausladen’s essay reads:

“We were finally let off the ferry at Ellis Island. I was so happy to be on solid ground again, I almost couldn’t stand. Maybe that was because the ground still felt like it was moving beneath my feet. The building we were ushered into was beautiful with a very high staircase that we were required to climb. A man came to take our bags and I half-heartedly handed them over, for he seemed trustworthy enough. My head felt like it was going to explode. It was so loud and there were so many different accents and languages that were unfamiliar and that I did not understand. I only hoped to hear a glimmer of the High German that my family spoke, but alas I couldn’t make out anything familiar in this jumble of bodies, voices, and bags.”

Nafziger said she is proud of all her students for their hard work on the project.

“There were some really good thoughts and stories. They put a lot of work into this,” she said.

Hausladen’s essay will now be forwarded to the state level for competition with other chapter winners from Idaho.

GRANGEVILLE — Eighth grader Wyatt Perry was the winner of a recent Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR, Lewiston-Clarkston branch) essay contest.

“I got all my information from my social studies book,” said Perry. “It’s actually pretty interesting.”

The directive was to write an essay as a child during the American Revolution. Perry wrote as a son who accompanied his father to Lexington-Concord and subsequently has to tell his mother about his father being killed there.

Social studies teacher Betty Nafziger used the contest as an assignment while her classes were learning about the American Revolution.

“Besides content — being historically accurate — they also had to type their entry and include a bibliography,” Nafziger explained. She sent all class essays to the competition.

The contest organizer sent Nafziger a letter stating Perry was the chapter winner and also commended Kally Arnzen, Justin Biebow and Tyler Stephens for “exceptional essays” and sent certificates for all four students. Perry and his parents are invited to the February meeting of the DAR where Perry will be able to read his essay and will be awarded there. His work will then be forwarded on to the state contest.

Perry is the son of Brian and Lark Perry of Grangeville.

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