A relaxed Aaron reads his winning essay.
A poised Sarah reads her essay. Both students rated much applause!
Katy Hineline, chair of the essay competition, prepares to present
Aaron with his award.
Katy congratulates Sarah, her English teacher Anne Dresser, and
her mother Lynn.
Aaron with his father, John Shapiro, his mother,
Babette Vemel, and his grandfather
Sarah at the Monday evening dinner with her
teacher, Anne Dresser, and her mother, Lynn Vitali.
Award Winning Writers
Two Delaware Valley students turned in prize winning 750 word
essays to the Philadelphia Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail
Heritage Foundation (LCTHF) for its regional contest during
Philadelphias Bicentennial Commemoration of the historic
Tom Davis, a member of the LCTHF board of directors
and a member of the Fort Washington School Board, was the program
chair for the 35th annual meeting of LCTHF at the Loews Philadelphia
Hotel (PSFS Building) four days in August. The agenda included
the essay contest, trolley rides and walking tours designed to
present a picture of the City in 1803. Philadelphias contributions
to the preparation of Lewis for the journey were explored, and
members visited local institutions which archive the majority
of major artifacts from the exploration. The slate held 20 scholars
and speakers from local universities and institutions and from
across the nation. Other news of the meeting of Lewis and Clark
fans may be found at www.lewisandclarkphila.org.
There were two divisions in the contest, one for
middle grades and one for high school. The winners were chosen
from 63 entries from 600 schools in the region that were invited
to enter. The young writers read their essays before 350 members
and visitors from across the country. Chapter President Bob Weir
of the Scranton area presented cash awards and certificates to
Pennwood Middle Schools 8th grader Sarah
Vitali of Yardley attributed her success to a wonderful
English teacher, Anne Dresser. Sarahs parents are
Lynn and Greg Vitali. Her favorite activity is reading,
absolutely! Sarah also loves singing and acting and being
at the pool this summer. At Pennwood, she appeared in several
plays and musicals including the Music Man, and Bye,
Bye, Birdie. She has also written a play of her own.
Cheltenham High 11th grader Aaron Shapiro
of Elkins Park swept the high school entries. In addition to being
the junior editor of the Literary Magazine at Cheltenham, Aaron
plays the guitar and drums with two bands. His teacher George
Reim is described by his family as an inspiring and fantastic
teacher of the honors American History Program at the school
in Wyncote. He is the son of John Shapiro and Babette Vemel.
Katy Hineline, a teacher at the Germantown Friends
School was chair of the essay contest. She and two others on her
committee, Tom Brady, a social studies educator at Lamberton High
School in Philadelphia, and Nancy Davis, of South Philadelphia,
co-chair of the national meeting devised and conducted the contest.
The contest challenged the students to plan a journey
to an unexplored part of the world today and compare the equipment
and supplies that Meriwether Lewis bought in Philadelphia in 1803
for his expedition with what the student might take along now.
The students were encouraged to make use of the Chapters
Web Winning site as chosen by the Philadelphia Inquirer
www.lewisandclarkphila.org which offered resource materials.
More ideas for teachers may be found on the Chapters website.
Each writer was permitted to take ten items, five
from Lewiss list that the essayist thought would still be
useful, and five from todays vast choice of new inventions.
It was interesting that all of the finalists
chose a GPS or Global Positioning System as one of the new items
they would take, noted Hineline.
The contest instructions also asked the students
to consider what training Lewis undertook from mentors of the
American Philosophical Society. Then they were required to choose
the training they felt they would require today. Part of their
challenge was to explain and justify their choices. The essays
were required to be typed in Times New Roman font in Word 97 or
Word Perfect 5.2 PC format.
Listeners were delighted with the poise and sense
of humor with which the essayists handled the readings. Vitali
shared that her mother had given her a bit of advice as she left
the dining table to mount the stairs to the lectern. Dont
trip over anything, especially if its expensive!
Aaron revealed that he had to write this paper
to pass his honors history course! Both readings went off
without a hitch and drew great applause from an appreciative audience,
who came from 35 states.