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Bernotas 8th Grader Wins Regional American History Essay Contest

DAR 2018 essay contest winners

2018 DAR contest winners (from left): Katelyn Hansen, Bethany Sternberg, Emma Podpora, and Benjamin Kovarik


Four Bernotas 8th graders were recently recognized as top finishers in the American History Essay Contest sponsored by the Kishwaukee Trail chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). These students are:

  • Katelyn Hansen - 1st Place
  • Emma Podpora - 2nd Place
  • Benjamin Kovarik - 3rd Place (tie)
  • Bethany Sternberg - 3rd Place (tie)

The contest -- open to 5th-8th grade students in public, private, and parochial schools and registered home-study programs -- was established to encourage young people to think creatively about United States history and to learn about history in a new light. This year’s theme was the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Eligible students were encouraged to write a journal entry (in 1,000 words or less) about the pros and cons of the 19th Constitutional Amendment. Submissions were judged based on historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of material, interest, originality, spelling/grammar/punctuation and neatness. Students in Mrs. Bowman’s language arts/social studies classes were invited to submit an entry for this year’s contest.


As a first place finisher in the local competition, Hansen’s essay was submitted to the state American history chair for consideration for the regional competition. Hansen recently learned that she took first place in the Illinois District II division and that she will now advance to the next level of the state competition.


“I don’t think I’ve ever researched this much on a topic before,” said Hansen. “What I learned is that it took so much for women to get equal rights, and even then, what they got didn’t apply to all women.”


Hansen said that she learned she was really interested in the topic and may consider exploring other historical aspects of our country in the future. She may even consider a career as a writer or journalist. “I feel like there’s a whole new window of opportunity,” she said.


Hansen will be a freshman at Crystal Lake South High School next year. See below for a link to her essay.  


Katelyn Hansen Essay


All Bernotas top finishers in the DAR contest will attend an award ceremony at McHenry County College on March 3, where they will be recognized for their achievements.