DAR honors winners of Good Citizenship, history essay awards

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) recently named a pair of essay winners — PAHS senior Alexa Shaffer for the DAR Good Citizen Award and SS.C.D. School seventh-grader Kaitlin Nicole Doverspike for the DAR American History Essay Contest.

According to the letter read at the presentation, Shaffer's involvement in a number of community extends from school to church to community and made her an excellent choice for a "Good Citizen."

Her active participation at PAHS has included Math Club (grades 10-12); Math team (11-12); Spanish Club (10-12); Show Choir (10-12); Key Club (10-12); Key Club secretary (12); Future Health Services Club (12); and National Honor Society (11-12).

Although involved in a number of activities, Shaffer also displays "unwavering" commitment to academic excellence, the presentation continued.

She was an honor roll student in grades 9-12.

DAR is not the only group that has found Shaffer award-worthy, as she has also been DAR honored as Student of the Month, Outstanding Math Student and Outstanding English Student at PAHS. This past fall, she was chosen by her classmates to reign as the 2012 Homecoming Queen.

Shaffer has been involved in many service projects and is also willing to lend a hand wherever help is needed.

"I try to volunteer whenever I can; I get a joy out of helping others and knowing I can brighten someone's day," she said.

Her community- and church-related activities include: Powder Puff Football, grades 11-12; SS.C.D. White Mass Food Server (11); First Church of God Clothing Drive (11); NHS highway cleanup (11); SS.C.D. Vacation Bible School helper (2011-2012); Grace Vacation Bible School Helper (2011-12); Music in the Park (2012). Shaffer also likes babysitting, playing the piano and gardening.

Her future plans include attending Gannon University for occupational therapy.

The committee for the DAR Good Citizens Program and Scholarship Contest was created in 1934 and was originally known as the DAR Good Citizenship Pilgrimage, because the state winners, senior girls only, received a trip to Washington, D.C. In 1952, the name was changed to DAR Good Citizens Committee and monetary awards were presented to the state and national winners.

The DAR Good Citizens program recognizes and rewards high school seniors who possess good citizenship qualities of:

• Dependability — which includes truthfulness, loyalty and punctuality;

• Service — which includes cooperation, courtesy and consideration of others;

• Leadership — which includes personality, self-control and the ability to assume responsibility;

• Patriotism — which includes interest in family, school, community and nation, to an outstanding degree.

Each award is given on a merit basis, including completion of a questionnaire, an essay, scholastic record and two letters of recommendation. Only one student per year may be honored as the school's DAR Good Citizen.

The seventh-grade essay winner, Doverspike, is a 12-year-old resident of Punxsutawney, where she resides with her parents, Edy and Eric Doverspike, and two sisters, Morgan and Allison.

When asked what she likes about school, Doverspike said she likes that SS.C.D. has small classes, that there is more one-on-one time when the students need it, and that she can pray if she wants to and not be afraid to so do.

Her hobbies and interests include some sports — basketball and volleyball especially, and possibly track next year. In the future, Doverspike hopes to be either a veterinarian or a pharmacist, but she also said she's still a little young to make her final decision.

Speaking about writing her essay, Doverspike said she enjoyed learning about the different people, who sometimes are forgotten, who helped us earn our freedom and the life we now have.

DAR was founded in 1890 by four women whose common bond was the fact that each had fathers or grandfathers who were patriots of the American Revolution. The founders sought to create an organization that would "perpetuate the memory and spirit of the women and men who achieved American independence."

DAR welcomes any woman 18 years of age or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. A "patriot" is defined as one who provided service or direct assistance in achieving American's independence. DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America's future through better education for children.