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Towson youngster’s Mayflower diary captures hearts at DAR

DAR American History Essay Contest winner Mirabel Benavides, front right, with her father, David; mother, Jennifer; and brother, Roger.
DAR American History Essay Contest winner Mirabel Benavides, front right, with her father, David; mother, Jennifer; and brother, Roger. (Joy Hare)

Classes are back in session, whether in person or online, and I sincerely hope all the students in our community are feeling geared up and ready for a safe and successful school year. It’s always fun to be able to share some news about local students who have been bringing their “A” game to academics.

Joy Hare, the American History Committee chair of the Carter Braxton Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), reached out to applaud the recent recognition of Dumbarton Middle School sixth-grader Mirabel Paige Benavides.

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Mirabel was a Rodgers Forge Elementary School fifth-grader when she submitted an essay to the DAR’s American History Essay Contest. Her essay was declared chapter winner at the Maryland State Society DAR Chapter House on Aug. 29 (the planned ceremony for March had been postponed due to COVID).

Mirabel’s 600-word essay commemorating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of the Plymouth Colony not only won the fifth-grade Chapter Competition, but also the Maryland State Competition and the Eastern Division Competition.

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For her efforts, Mirabel received a monetary prize, a Chapter Bronze Excellence in History medal, a State Silver Excellence in History Medal, and an Eastern Regional Certificate of Excellence in History.

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit volunteer service organization of more than 185,000 women who can trace their lineage to a patriot who served the cause of the American Revolution.

The DAR American History Essay Contest encourages young people in grades 5 through 8 to delve into topics with historical accuracy, while also thinking creatively in ways that bring new light and life to our nation’s history.

Mirabel used her essay as an opportunity to envision herself as a young passenger on the Mayflower in 1620. She created an on-board diary, detailing what she planned and packed for the trip (which stretched into two miserable months at sea) and for living in the New World wilderness, and reflected on items she wished she had brought with her.

She did a great job crafting a scenario that really captured the judges' attention. Mirabel is already looking forward to participating in her next DAR essay contest, now as a Dumbarton Middle Schooler!

Towson’s National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Major kudos are also due to some exceptional Towson-area high school scholars who have been selected as semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program: Loch Raven High School student Alexander Spielman; Loyola Blakefield High Schooler Aidan Brehm; Notre Dame Preparatory student Joanna Jeyachandran; and from Towson High School, Shuming Mao, Daniel Melia, Noah Rich, Adam Viazanko, Eleuthera Wang and Tyler Yup.

Congratulations to all!

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