Hilltop students shine in history essay contest

Middle schoolers take most prizes in DAR competition


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  • Essay contest winners, from left: David Sacks, Kanna Pasanuri, Andrew Antunes, Justin Arapkiles, Benjamin Janiszewski, William Antunes, Eamon Coletta, Caitlin Caffrey and Tija Sipols. Photo provided



SPARTA — Eight middle school students from Hilltop Country Day School took first, second or third place in the American history essay contest run by the Chinkchewunska Chapter of the New Jersey Daughters of the American Revolution, which is headquartered in Wantage and serves Sussex County Two other Hilltop students received honorable mention.

This year's topic was remembering World War I as 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. Students were asked to imagine living in 1918 and detail where they were living and how the end of the war would impact their daily life. Students also had to discuss the pros and cons of the changes the War introduced to society and how those changes would impact the United States in the years to come. Essays were judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Grade 7

• Caitlin Caffrey, first place

• Kanna Pasanuri, second place

• David Sacks, third place

• Tija Sipols, honorable mention

Grade 6

• Antonio Puopolo, first place

• Andrew Antunes, third place

Grade 5

• Ben Janiszewski, first place

• Eamon Coletta, second place

• William Antunes, third place

• Justin Arapkiles, honorable mention.

Caitlin, Antonio and Ben's essays will advance to the state contest.

Allyn Perry of the Chinkchewunska Chapter of the NJDAR said the group received 112 essays.

An excerpt from Caitlin Caffrey's winning essay:

I​ ​am​ ​a​ ​married​ ​twenty​ ​two​ ​year​ ​old​ ​American​ ​woman​ ​with​ ​two​ ​children​ ​whose​ ​husband was​ ​sent​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​in​ ​the​ ​war.​ ​​ ​Before​ ​the​ ​war​ ​ended​ ​my​ family, ​friends,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​went​ ​to​ ​work​ ​in Washington,​ ​DC​ ​while​ ​the​ ​men​ ​fought​ ​in​ ​the​ ​war​ ​defending​ ​our​ ​country’s​ ​freedom.​ ​​ ​We​ ​worked for​ ​minimal​ ​wage​ ​making​ ​weapons,​ ​supplies​ ​for​ ​the​ ​soldiers,​ ​and​ ​ran​ ​stores​ ​and​ ​factories.​ ​​ ​In 1917​ ​my​ ​women​ ​friends​ ​and​ ​I​ ​silently​ ​protested​ ​for​ ​voting​ ​rights​ ​for​ ​women​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​the​ ​White House.​ ​​ ​Some​ ​of​ ​us​ ​were​ ​arrested,​ ​but​ ​we​ ​continued​ ​until​ ​November​ ​of​ ​that​ ​year.

When​ ​the​ ​Great​ ​War​ ​ended​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​continue​ ​working,​ ​but​ ​found​ ​many​ ​women’s​ ​jobs were​ ​lost​ ​to​ ​the​ ​returning​ ​men.​ ​​ ​I​ ​successfully​ ​ran​ ​the​ ​general​​store​ ​my​ ​husband​ ​owned​ ​while​ ​he was​ ​at​ ​war.​ ​​ ​When​ ​he​ ​returned​ ​he​ ​forced​ ​me​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​store​ ​and​ ​told​ ​me​ ​my​ ​place​ ​was​ ​to​ ​manage our​ ​home​ ​and​ ​children.​ ​​ ​I​ ​gathered​ ​my​ ​things​ ​and​ ​walked​ ​home​ ​to​ ​start​ ​my​ ​daily​ ​chores​ ​again, but​ ​refused​ ​to​ ​give​ ​up​ ​that​ ​easily.

A​ ​month​ ​later,​ ​the​ ​store​ ​closed​ ​from​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​business​ ​leaving​ ​my​ ​husband​ ​unemployed.​ ​​ ​I started​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​a​ ​job​ ​to​ ​help​ ​support​ ​my​ ​family.​ ​​ ​I​ ​found​ ​many​ ​jobs​ ​that​ ​required​ ​my expertise​ ​but​ ​since​ ​the​ ​press​ ​had​ ​vilified​ ​women​ ​working​ ​no​ ​one​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​me.​

An excerpt from Benjamin Janiszewski's winning essay:

My​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Frederic​ ​Warren,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​was​ ​born​ ​in​ ​Vienna​ ​in​ ​1884.​ ​When​ ​I​ ​was​ ​three​ ​I moved​ ​to​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​joined​ ​the​ ​army​ ​in​ ​1911.​ ​When​ ​Franz​ ​Ferdinand​ ​was assassinated,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​visiting​ ​my​ ​uncle​ ​who​ ​lived​ ​in​ ​Visegrad.​ ​In​ ​1917,​ ​I​ ​joined​ ​the​ ​war​ ​for​ ​the Americans.​ ​But​ ​on​ ​March​ ​6th,​​1918,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​fighting​ ​in​ ​Saint-Die​ ​when​ ​a​ ​shot​ ​down​ ​British bomber​ ​crashed​ ​into​ ​the​ ​trench​ ​I​ ​was​ ​in.

My​ ​family​ ​tells​ ​me​ ​I​ ​was​ ​in​ ​a​ ​hospital​ ​for​ ​over​ ​a​ ​year.​ ​I​ ​remember​ ​waking​ ​up​ ​in​ ​May, 1919.​ ​The​ ​doctors​ ​told​ ​me​ ​I​ ​was​ ​in​ ​a​ ​hospital​ ​in​ ​Czechoslovakia​ ​and​ ​was​ ​temporarily​ ​paralyzed from​ ​the​ ​waist​ ​down.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​utterly​ ​confused,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​last​ ​time​ ​I​ ​was​ ​conscious,​ ​Czechoslovakia didn’t​ ​exist.​ ​I​ ​traveled​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​The​ ​country​ ​was​ ​a​ ​different​ ​place​ ​after​ ​the​ ​war.​ ​The streets​ ​were​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​sorrow​ ​and​ ​the​ ​bankrupt​ ​shops​ ​had​ ​a​ ​melancholy​ ​mood.

So​ ​many​ ​people​ ​with​ ​no​ ​jobs.​ ​The​ ​years​ ​went​ ​by,​ ​more​ ​new​ ​countries​ ​were​ ​formed,​ ​and more​ ​people​ ​lost​ ​their​ ​jobs.​ ​My​ ​parents​ ​stayed​ ​inside​ ​most​ ​days.​ ​They​ ​never​ ​talked​ ​to​ ​me.​ ​My friends​ ​acted​ ​like​ ​I​ ​never​ ​existed.​ ​So​ ​many​ ​people​ ​had​ ​been​ ​lost,​ ​and​ ​nobody​ ​wanted​ ​to remember​ ​that.​ ​So​ ​they​ ​just​ ​acted​ ​like​ ​it​ ​never​ ​happened.​ ​This​ ​led​ ​to​ ​such​ ​a​ ​sad​ ​world.

Hilltop Country Day School is a coeducational private school for preschoolers ages 2.5 through eighth grade. Hilltop's S.T.E.A.M.-center curriculum is project-based and is individualized to the needs of each student. For more information, please visit www.hilltopcds.org or call 973-729-5485.

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