MORRIS – More than 300 students from Morris middle schools submitted essays in this year's Daughter's of the American Revolution junior high essay contest, but there could only be three winners.
Colin Voss of Nettle Creek School represented the sixth grade, Angela Georgaklis from Saratoga Elementary School won for seventh grade and Kayla Jepson of Saratoga won for eighth grade.
"This year's theme was women's suffrage," said Barb Boma, regent of the Alida C. Bliss Chapter of the DAR in Morris.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of of the 19th amendment that would give women the right to vote nationwide for the first time. The amendment would ultimately be ratified in August 1920.
Daughters of the American Revolution is a service organization focused on preserving the values held by those who first fought for American Independence.
Boma said students were given packets of information on the subject so that they would have research materials. She said the papers were judged anonymously and one of the things students were graded on was the ability to follow directions.
Voss' essay compared the pros and cons of giving women the right to vote, using arguments from the time. For example, men worried at the time that women would vote for candidates that would participate in frivolous spending.
At the end, Voss listed his own pros and cons.
"There are no cons," he said.
Georgaklis took a different path. Her paper was an imagined narrative by a young woman in Florida during the suffragette movement. Her parents were firmly against the right of women to vote, and on that day Mary Nolan was on the front page of the newspaper for getting arrested at a rally. Georgaklis' narrator said that Nolan looked like a grandmother, and the real Nolan was regarded as one of the oldest suffragettes and often one of the oldest prisoners when she was arrested while protesting.
Jepson's entry was was a journal entry about the day women's suffrage was passed by the United States Congress. Her narrator walked proudly through the streets as she was now able to participate the same as men in the world around her.