BRIGHT FUTURE: WCCA student gets regional honor for DAR essayPublished 12:14am Thursday, April 18, 2013
NATCHEZ — Selah Cowan is willing to bet that most people think about strong, brave and respectful men when they think about soldiers or spies who help their country.
But it was a courageous woman, Anna Smith Strong, who defied those stereotypes and caught the attention of Cowan, a seventh-grade student at Wilkinson County Christian Academy.
Strong, a member of the Culper Spy Ring, often used the arrangement of laundry on her clothesline to signal the presence of British troops during the American Revolutionary War.
Those courageous acts to help her country during the war led Cowan to write an essay about Strong for the Daughters of the American Revolution’s annual essay contest.
Cowan was previously recognized at an award ceremony in Jackson for writing the top essay of all the seventh graders in Mississippi.
The recognitions continued to pile on Tuesday during a DAR chapter meeting as Cowan was also selected as the Southeastern United States regional winner. Cowan will now compete with other regional winners across the country for the national award.
This year’s DAR essay required students to find and write about an unsung hero from the American Revolutionary War.
Cowan said she chose to write about Strong because she thought it was extraordinary that Strong was a respectful, brave woman who followed General George Washington’s commands and helped her country.
“She just seemed very interesting to me,” Cowan said. “Writing the essay was my favorite part of the whole thing.”
Apart from respecting Washington as a general, Cowan said she was sure Strong admired Washington immensely because she named her last known son after the first president.
“I consider that very respectable and admirable of her,” Cowan said during the chapter meeting Tuesday. “If I was her son, I would definitely be proud of the impact that Anna had on the war and also for the distinguished name I was given.”
The national winner of the DAR essay contest will be announced June 1.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Cowan said. “This is all a new experience, so I’m excited.”
Cowan is the daughter of Michael and Chasity Cowan.