Event, held virtually, featured MDN editor Kate Hessling as keynote speaker
The John Alden Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored nine high school seniors as Good Citizens at a recent Recognition Ceremony, via Zoom due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
A DAR Good Citizen must exhibit qualities of dependability, service, patriotism, and leadership. Each student was selected by their high school for meeting these qualifications and was recognized and awarded a DAR Good Citizen certificate, pin and wallet card.
Karlee Szafranski from Bullock Creek High School was chosen as the John Alden Chapter winner. Karlee is the daughter of Kim and Jon Szafranski and her school sponsor is Jennifer Brown. The other DAR Good Citizens this year are Jake Fischer of Beaverton High School, son of Harvey and Kelly Fischer; Elaiyna Schwartzkopf of Calvary Baptist Academy, daughter of Jennifer and Terry Schwartzkopf; Kenzie McCoy of Coleman High School, daughter of Jamie and Brittney McCoy and Matthew and Monica Sysak; Elijah Folts of Freeland High School, son of Alisha Strait and Travis Folts; Wilson Bragg of Gladwin High School, son of Dale and Lisa Bragg; Tess Striebel of H.H. Dow High School, daughter of Shannon Striebel and Jeffrey Striebel; Emmirsyn Stacy of Meridian Early College High School, daughter of Amanda Hermanns and Kyle Brawt; and Taylor Sanborn of Midland High School, daughter of Daniel and Amy Sanborn.
The guest speaker was Kate Hessling, editor of the Midland Daily News. She spoke to the students on the role of a good citizen. As it was election week, the act of voting is a role of a good citizen, although they may not have been able to vote this year due to age. She highlighted the fact that their generation has been taught differently than their parents and grandparents in terms of vetting information online. Hessling explained good citizens will speak and share truthful information in social media and other platforms. She said the students are in a unique situation in that they may be more knowledgeable of how to spot misinformation online. She encouraged them to report false information they see online, and to always double check information if they are not sure it’s true. And she said students should use their knowledge to teach their parents and grandparents about misinformation.
Following her presentation, Hessling was presented a Public Relations & Media Award to the Midland Daily News for the years of support it has given the John Alden Chapter. The award is also for the MDNs support of historic preservation through its Throwback and other articles about the area’s history and for it support of veterans such as the series running this month honoring veterans.
The DAR Good Citizens essay contest was on the topic, “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It”, with the focus question, “How do the combined actions of so many good citizens keep our nation moving forward?” Karlee Szafranski first stated, “For hundreds of years, America has faced many triumphs and turmoils, and yet we still stand strong. Our ancestors built this country into what it is today through their hard work and undying courage….and it is the enduring American spirit and the combined effort of so many good citizens that will continue to keep our country strong.”
She said it is our duty to preserve the undying perseverance and unwavering confidence of our ancestors…to keep our nation strong through whatever the future may hold. Karlee discussed the momentous movements of the American Revolution that would not have been possible if not for the brave citizens of our country…whose actions have inspired all future generations of Americans. She said that this “American spirit” has been evident numerous times as when citizens worked together to ration supplies and support our troops during World War II, or even now in the midst of a pandemic, where ordinary citizens are stepping up to help others in need. Karlee concluded, “The actions and traits from good citizens are what saved America in the past….what will keep us moving forward in the future…and continue to move forward and face whatever challenge lies in the fog ahead.”
The John Alden DAR Chapter presented Szafranski with a monetary award from the chapter. She also received a special tribute from the State of Michigan, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, Senator Jim Stamas, and Representative Annette Glenn. As the John Alden Chapter DAR winner, Karlee will proceed to the Michigan DAR Good Citizens competition.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org. Contact the John Alden Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.