Essay winners hope for national honors

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

While achieving is a goal for Roosevelt County students Tessa Nall and Dane Ferguson, they never imagined they’d be doing so at the state level.

The two students had winning essays in Daughters of the American Revolution contests. Their essays have won them honors at the state level and they are still in the running to become national winners.

Courtesy photo Floyd High School senior Tessa Nall gives a speech at a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting. Nall is the state winner of DAR's Good Citizens Award.

Courtesy photo
Floyd High School senior Tessa Nall gives a speech at a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting. Nall is the state winner of DAR’s Good Citizens Award.

Dane Ferguson, a seventh-grade student from Elida, won for his winning submission in the American History Essay Contest.

Nall, a Floyd High School senior, is a winner for the DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship contest, which rewards students who possess qualities of service, leadership and patriotism.

DAR member Carol Nash of the El Portal Chapter is the American History Essay Contest coordinator. Nash said she has records of the contest dating back to 1985 and feels the contest is still necessary today.

“It gives an opportunity for students to learn about our American history,” Nash said, “and I feel like that’s important.”

Holly Chandler, a sixth grade student from Floyd was also a winner. Attempts to reach her for comment weren’t successful


Tessa Nall

Nall tries to embody the characteristics of being a good citizen.

“I base it off leadership, community service and having your voice be heard,” said Nall, “and pride in your country.”

Nall said those characteristics often come from how a person is raised. For her essay, she used her own personal experience to describe good citizenship.

“Personally I draw inspiration from how I was raised. Another big factor is church. I’ve been raised in a church all my life,” Nall said. “My faith is the cornerstone of all my actions.”

The senior plans to attend Midwestern State University in Texas and study radiology. Her long-term career goal is to become a radiology assistant.

In addition to a well-rounded background, achieving both academically and athletically in basketball, track, and volleyball, Nall said she’s proud of her accomplishment with DAR.

“I was really proud because I wrote from the heart and it seems to always turn out good when you make it genuine and not try to fluff it up with fancy words,” Nall said.

She added that contests like these are important for her generation because they give students an opportunity to become passionate about their history.

“It seems like my generation is kind of losing the push to be patriotic,” Nall said. “It made students stop and think about the core values of our nation and made people think, ‘What am I doing to be a good citizen?’ DAR is helping students be more proactive.”


Dane Ferguson

Ferguson, a native of Oregon, has been in Roosevelt County for about four years since his father took a position here in law enforcement.

Though his hobbies include baseball, shooting and playing with his metal detector, his father feels he may have knack for writing.

“It’s been surprising because I didn’t know I was going to win,” Ferguson said. “I was kind of happy because I was really excited when I won state.”

Ferguson’s essay topic focused on children during the Revolutionary War. He did a lot of his research on the Georgia colony and located his fictional characters there.

He talked about a brother and sister who helped their mother during the war while their father went to battle.

Of the research he did, there were a few things that spoke to him, such as how soldiers went to war and didn’t return.

“I thought it was very cool that he shows some writing ability,” said his father, Lee Ferguson. “Maybe with a little more training, he’ll get into writing. I was very excited for him. I think it’s good for him to win something like that.”

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