Three High School Seniors Net $25,500 in 8th Annual
Legislative Essay Scholarship Contest
(Dover, DE.) Earlier today, Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff, Senator David P. Sokola, 8th Senatorial District and representatives from the Delaware Higher Education Commission (DHEC) joined legislators and education officials in congratulating the efforts of three outstanding high school seniors who have been selected as Delaware’s top winners in the eighth annual Legislative Essay Scholarship Contest.
Scott Jeffry Falin, a high school senior at Tatnall School in Wilmington, captured first place and a $10,000 scholarship for his essay on this year’s theme: “E Pluribus Unum: Is this motto adopted in 1782 relevant to our country today?” Second place went to Logan Hughes, currently attending St. Thomas More Academy in Magnolia. For his runner-up effort, Logan received a $7,500 scholarship, while Katherine Kleinot from Glasgow High School in Newark came in third place and received a $5,000 scholarship. The three seniors also received $1,000 scholarships from their respective legislative districts.
“This year, 137 essays were submitted by public, private and homeschool seniors across the state,” said Deputy Secretary of Education Nancy J. Wilson, Ph.D. “Today, we honor these three high school seniors for their writing achievements. I congratulate Scott, Logan, and Katherine and wish each of them success as they continue their education.”
The contest, open only to high school seniors, began in 1999 and was originally called the George Washington Memorial Scholarship to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's death. The scholarship was authorized for only one year and students had to write a 500 to 2000 word essay on "Why George Washington Should Be Revered in America.”
In 2000, the General Assembly passed HB 545 as the Legislative Essay Scholarship. Sponsored jointly by former Representative Wayne Smith and Senator Sokola, the bill authorized the essay contest on an annual basis. The essay topic changes annually and focuses on events, people, philosophies, technologies, governments, or ideals in American history from the years 1770 to 1860. Previous topics have included Frederick Douglass; James Madison; Abigail Adams; the Lewis and Clark Expedition (The Corps of Discovery); Alexander Hamilton; Benjamin Franklin; to “All Men are Created Equal” and “E Pluribus Unum.”
A committee comprised of representatives from the Delaware Sons of the American Revolution, the Delaware Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and DHEC choose each year’s topic.
There are 62 district scholarships authorized; one for each of the 21 Senate districts and 41 state representative districts. Once submitted, the district winner’s essay is forwarded to a statewide judging committee for selection of the top three essays. A list of the district winners can be found at www.doe.k12.de.us/dhec.
Excerpts from each of this year’s winning essays are as follows:
- From Scott: “The United States has always struggled with divisiveness and turmoil in its past, which may very well be inevitable in a society as pluralistic and inclusive. However, each time the United States has faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge, the American people have risen to the task. Respecting each other’s differences, they united in their shared faith in the limitless potential of what together they could achieve. There is no reason to assume that the vault of the American spirit is empty or that the reservoir of the American will is depleted. Once again, immigrants will assimilate and add to the national character. Once again, Americans will be able to mollify their differences through civility, tolerance, and discourse. And, through the leadership, courage, and perseverance of the American people, once again, out of many there shall emerge one nation, stronger and more united than ever before.”
- From Logan: “It has been 237 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In that passage of time, we have become a citizenship founded on the hard-fought and hard-won belief that in order to succeed and carry on as a united people, we must accept, encourage, and perpetuate the moral principle behind E Pluribus Unum. George Washington and the delegates of the Second Continental Congress would expect no less from our generation. As the heirs to the spirit and intent of E Pluribus Unum, we should expect no less from ourselves.”
- From Katherine: “All of these divisions, disputes, and differences considered, one might wonder how the nation continues to function. The answer is simple; the United States of America has the strong leadership and government necessary to overcome any challenges that might threaten its solidarity. The national motto has changed from “E Pluribus Unum” to “One Nation Under God,” and it may change again in the future. If the country continues to learn from its past and address the challenges of the future, “E Pluribus Unum” will prevail and the United States will remain one, though it is many.”
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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