Two local students winners in essay contest

Two local students winners in essay contest
Riverside Presbyterian Day School fifth-graders Claire Coogan, Gabby Sullivan and Lauren Mack
St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School fifth-grade student Jack Potter tries on Abraham Lincoln’s top hat.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School fifth-grade student Jack Potter tries on Abraham Lincoln’s top hat.

The annual two-day presentation held Jan. 17-18 at the Main Library for nearly 1,600 Duval County fifth graders was also an opportunity to sharpen pencils and write essays about the historical speaker. This year two of the eight essay winners included Madeleine Wilkins of St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School and Blythe Benton from John Stockton Elementary School.

Professional Lincoln presenter Dennis Boggs, of Nashville, Tennessee, returned to Jacksonville for a repeat of his 2011 performance telling the story of President Abraham Lincoln at the 11th annual historical presentation hosted by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Florida.

The Dames sponsor the yearly perfor-
mances, which are underwritten by the Roger L. and Rochelle S. Main Charitable Trust.

Boggs has been presenting Lincoln for over 16 years, averaging more than 250 performances per year. After his presentation, Boggs channeled Lincoln’s character to encourage the boys and girls in the audience to use the power of knowledge in waging different kinds of wars.

“You’re fighting wars every single day against hunger, poverty, and racism. You’re fighting wars against crime, drugs, and violence, against diseases. My war and every war since then has been fought, won and lost with too many guns, too much blood and way too many human lives,” said Boggs. “I promise you that the wars you are fighting can only truly be won with one thing. And that’s knowledge. And that knowledge right now is locked up deep inside your young minds. And to unlock it you need a special key and that key is education.”

Wilkins wrote about Lincoln’s morality for her winning essay.

“Lincoln believed that forgiveness and kindness must be shown to the South after the war, despite that most Northerners favored punishment,” said Wilkins in her essay. “He saw no future for the country without first healing the wounds of war.”

Each of the winners received a certificate and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln – a $5 bill.

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