DAR celebrates students:

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Picayune Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR, hosted the winning students of their annual American History Essay Contest as well as the 2009 DAR Good Citizens Award recipients during their February meeting held last Saturday at Crosby Library. Everyone in attendance was also invited to stay and help celebrate Lincoln’s bicentennial.

“I’m proud to announce that we have first place winners in the fifth, sixth and eighth grades who will, this date be awarded medals and certificates for their hard work,” said Virginia Mitchell, Chairman of the American History Committee for DAR. “[This year] we had 218 participants in the American History Essay contest.”

The topic was “The Road to Independence” and participants could choose one of the following events as the focus of their paper to help support the necessity of America declaring its independence: The Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill, Ride of Paul Revere or the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

After the first place winner in each category was announced, he or she was asked to remain standing and read their winning essay. Parents, friends, teachers and principals of the students were all invited to attend and help them celebrate this high honor.

First up was the fifth grade winner, Glenn Michael Celino III, from Roseland Park Elementary School. He is the son of Cynthia Celino and Glenn Celino Jr. who were both in attendance.

“Michael loves to ride his bicycle and works at his grandparents’ farm. He drives the tractor and feeds the animals. Michael enjoys history and science in school. He enjoys watching the National Geographic as well as Discovery and Science channels on television. He received the perfect attendance award for the 2007-2008 school year,” said Mitchell.

His essay’s emphasis was the midnight ride of Paul Revere, which he enjoyed writing about, he said.

Next up was the sixth grade winner, Lydia Smith, from South Side Elementary. She is the daughter of Amy Smith and the granddaughter of Patricia and Monty Smith, who were all in attendance.

“Lydia loves reading, particularly about horses. She won a reading fair poster contest. She enjoys playing the piano and plays the piano frequently in her church which is Pine Grove Baptist. She participates in piano recitals and is active in school. She’s been on the honor roll a number of times. Lydia likes skating, fishing and loves animals. Lydia lives on a farm in Henleyfield and has six goats, two rabbits, two cats, a dog and a fish. She wants to be veterinarian when she grows up,” said Mitchell.

Her essay’s emphasis was the Boston Tea Party, which she enjoyed writing about, she said.

Last up was the eighth grade winner, Heidi Cavaliere of Pearl River Central Middle School. She is the daughter of Kim and Keith Cavaliere. Unfortunately the family was unable to attend Saturday’s event, as they were all in Mobile, Ala., supporting Heidi Cavaliere in a dance competition.

“Heidi is a very busy young lady. She has been taking dance for 12 years and has participated in competitions for eight or nine years. She has traveled and won awards and went to Disney World this past summer and performed.

“She has taken piano for eight years and has had recitals and festivals and has won awards at same. Last year she received the first place award in piano.

“She’s a captain in Show Choir at school; Treasurer of the Beta Club; a Student Council representative; was Homecoming Queen this year; on honor roll this year and all of her classes are honors classes.

“She particularly loves English and History.

“Heidi attends Mill Creek Baptist Church and enjoys church functions and enjoys singing in the church choir,” Mitchell said.

Alan Lumpkin read Cavaliere’s essay — emphasis on the Boston Massacre — on her behalf during the meeting.

We’re real proud of Heidi, said Lumpkin.

Cavaliere was presented with her medal and certificate at the Picayune Item office several days before the Saturday meeting. She had a picture with her parents taken during that time.

“I’m sure you can see from these essays, that the students really enjoyed writing about some of the incidents which led to our independence and to the signing of the Declaration of Independence,” said Mitchell after all the winning essays were read.

DAR also used Saturday’s meeting to present the 2009 DAR Good Citizens Awards to their recipients. One senior from each of the three county public high schools, Picayune Memorial, Pearl River Central and Poplarville high schools, were given the honor this year. Of the three, only one of these students was able to be in attendance at Saturday’s meeting with his family and friends, Benjamin Larus Lee of Pearl River Central High School in Carriere. The other winners will be presented with their awards at next month’s local DAR meeting.

Lee, son of Wanda and Gary Lee, is currently dual enrolled in high school in Carriere and Pearl River Community College in Poplarville.

He has earned several awards including: 2006: Perfect Attendance Award, Nutrition Award and Principal Award. 2007: Character Award and Principal Award. 2008: Principal Award.

His interests and activities include: Math, art, football, track, weight lifting, National Honor Society, Beta Club, and his church’s youth group.

He has worked as a floor guard for Skate Station. He has served as a volunteer painting homes, cleaning yards, repairing roofs and distributing water. His has held a number of summer jobs including his job as a mower for Lee’s Lawn Care. For his community he has worked with Special Olympics and helped lead a football camp and a sports camp.

The two DAR 2009 Good Citizens recipients who were unable to attend last Saturday’s meeting are Erin Curtrer, senior at Poplarville High School, and Alexandra Parker, senior at Picayune Memorial High School.

Curtrer is the daughter of Sandra and Craig Curtrer. She currently holds a 3.75 GPA and is ranked 15th in her class. She is on the A Honor Roll, has served on the Student Council, is a member of the District Champion Lady Hornets softball team and she plans to attend Pearl River Community College upon graduation.

For her community she has volunteered to work during the summer as a counselor for Safe Harbor and she volunteered during the summer and Christmas holidays at the Poplarville Nursing Home in the Activities Department.

She is active in the 4-H club and enjoys showing livestock, especially cattle. She has worked at Ace Hardware and enjoys hunting. She is the only member of her senior class who has maintained a perfect 100 average in both U.S. History and U.S. Government.

Alexandra Parker is the daughter of Edna Parker. She has served as class president for all four years of high school and this year she is also president of the Student Council.

She is Mississippi Future Businesses Leaders of America (FBLA) president and was the treasurer last year. She placed first in the FBLA job interview.

She is the captain of the Pride of the Tide dance team this year and she is a member of High Tide Productions, the PMHS drama troupe. She also serves as a mentor at South Side Elementary.

Her extra curricular activities include membership in the Picayune Juniorettes Service Club, she was the 2009 Picayune Junior Miss and she is active with Picayune On Stage. She is a member of Pilgrim Bound Baptist Church and serves as their Sunday School Secretary. She is also a member of the Pilgrim Bound Baptist Church Youth Choir.

She currently works for McDonald’s and The Perfect Dress.

At the conclusion of the DAR meeting everyone was invited to enjoy birthday cake in honor of Lincoln’s 200th birthday, which will be celebrated nationally on Thursday, February 12.