July 9, 2020

Katy Gray receives excellence in American History Medal

Pictured (L-R): Katy Gray, and Pamela Lyle, Regent (Photo: Julia Saint)

(Franklin, GA) — At the recent chapter meeting for the James Stewart Chapter, NSDAR, Katy Gray from Heard County Middle School was awarded the Excellence in American History Medal for her chapter-winning essay on “The Voyage of the Mayflower.”

Katy also received a Certificate of Award for her essay. Katy’s parents, Beth and Billy Gray, were also present to for this presentation.

Katy was also the recipient of the DAR Youth Citizenship Award given last spring during her last year at Heard County Elementary School.

2020 marks the 400th Anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of the Plymouth Colony.

Katy’s essay took on the perspective of being one of the passengers on the Mayflower and the hardships endured with securing the materials needed to start her new life in the wilderness after spending two months at sea.

The American History Essay contest is open to all students in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 in public, private, or parochial schools, or those who are home schooled.

Essay topics are announced each fall with topics and other information distributed to our county schools and newspapers.

Please consider encouraging your student to participate in the essay contest this year. The essay contest is a national contest. The national winner is featured at DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C. each summer.

For more information about our programs centered on the education of our students, please contact jamesstewarchapterdar@gmail.com or call 770- 856-3354 to speak with a chapter representative.

The DAR is a service organization founded in 1890 with the goals of promoting education, patriotism, and historic preservation. Any woman over the age of 18 is eligible for membership upon establishing her direct lineal descent of a patriot during the Revolutionary War.

Read Katy’s full essay below:

The Voyage of the Mayflower
By Katy Gray

“Good bye Mother,” I said. It was September 6, 1620. The day to set sail on the Mayflower. “ Are you sure you got everything, Katy”?

“Of course Mother, I have some biscuits, beer, rice, wheat, salt, dried beef, and a tent. I think I have everything, what do you think,
Mother?” “Come on everybody! Time to go. ” Cried our captain, Christopher Jones Jr.

“Good bye Mother,” I said.

Finally, we were on our way. It took about three months until we got to our new colony. We had to turn around twice because of our speedwell. After deciding to leave the leaky speedwell behind, the Mayflower finally got underway on September 6, 1620.

“Land ho!” Everyone rejoiced that we had finally found land, the only thing we had to worry about were the red men. The first thing we had to do was set up camp before the winter.

“Alright everyone, time to start setting up for camp. We won’t be ready for winter at this rate”. “Do you want us to go out and hunt for deer, Captain?” “Yes”. I knew we were running out of supplies and we wouldn’t last long, so I decided that we needed someone back home to send supplies.

That night I had a talk with the Captain. “Sir, we need a new plan. We are running out of food, and we won’t be able to survive this winter.” “I know that is why I don’t want people finding out and causing a panic.” “But sir, we need a new plan. Would you rather cause panic or death?” “Well what is the plan then?”

The next morning we gathered everyone around our campfire, also known as the town’s square. As I gave my speech, an arrow flew past my ear. Everyone started to panic as the gates were busted open and the Indians ran in. Lucky for us, Samoset was visiting so he could translate, before we got into a war.

The Indians were wild at first, but when things started to settle down the Indians started to show us ways to make corn, hunt for food, or where to find it. They also taught the women how to strip the skin off animals that the men had killed.

Once in a while the Indians came and ate with us. “I see that my people have been helping you.” said their chief. “Yes, yes they have.”

Pretty soon the Indians stopped coming. People started to panic because winter was coming fast and we were running out of food. That winter was brutal. We had a blizzard that tore down our houses, livestock died and we did not have enough food to get us through the winter. Many of the people got sick and died. It was a tragic winter.

Spring came and we planted our seedlings and hoped that they will be finished growing before fall comes. The reason why the Indians had left us was that they were called off to war. And they will be back in the fall.

We had a really good garden growing at this time of year. In summer, we harvested our crops so we would have enough for the winter.

In the fall the Indians came back. We were so rejoiced that we gave a feast called Thanksgiving to be thankful that they had won and that they were back alive! And that is how we started our new colony.

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