Students Rylie Hoskins and Sydney Behm take home top honors from annual competition

The Yamhill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored a pair of Newberg students last month, revealing at its February meeting that eighth grade student Rylie Hoskins and seventh grade student Sydney Behm had not only won the county award in the American History Essay Contest, but were also judged to be the best in the state for their grade level as well. Behm

"I wasn't even sure I would win for the county, so winning state is great," Hoskins said. "It was fun to do it and I learned a lot more about World War I than I knew before."

This year, students in grades five through eight were given the theme, "World War I: Remembering the War to End All Wars." According to Eleanor Fuhrer, who is chairwoman for both the chapter and state contests, students were asked to imagine themselves as living in 1918, the last year of the war, and write a first-person account that weighs the positive and negative impacts on the nation.

While Hoskins is a veteran of the contest, having won the county-level award in fifth grade, she decided to ask Behm if she would like to participate together. The two friends did some of their research together and helped edit each other's submissions.

Behm, who attends Chehalem Valley Middle School, opted to write her essay in the form of a diary. Entries from various dates reveal how Eliena Schoebert reacts when her brother-in-law, Colton, is drafted. Having already lost her father to the war, Schoebert devises a plan to dress up as a boy to be drafted in Colton's place, only to be saved at the last minute when the peace treaty is signed. Hoskins

Hoskins, who attends Country Faith Christian Academy in Newberg, set her essay in November 1918, just after the end of the war. She wrote about how the war offered women a chance to prove their worth and envisions how life for them will change after the war.

She also considered how playing up stereotypes during the war might end up creating an unfair and overly-protective immigration policy.

"No matter your skin color or heritage, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' applies to all people, not just those of the same race," she wrote.

The pair will receive an additional $100 award and bronze badges at the Oregon DAR convention in May. Their essays are currently being judged in the six-state Northwest Division. Winners at that level will then be judged in the national competition, with winners earning a $1,000 scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the DAR National Congress.

"Our chapter is very excited to have not only chapter winners, but state winners," Fuhrer said. "Next year's subject will be women's suffrage."

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