OGDEN -- When the British army invaded Washington D.C. in 1914, first lady Dolley Madison refused to leave the White House without taking a painting of George Washington with her.
"It was a very valuable painting that Gilbert Stuart did and because it was so valuable it had been screwed to the wall so it couldn't be stolen," said Aubrey Grasteit, a Syracuse Elementary School fifth grader. "So Dolley Madison waited there until they broke the frame and got the canvas. She stayed behind to save a lot of important things."
Aubrey is one of this year's first-place winners of The Golden Spike Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution History Essay Contest. She said her Schoolwide Enrichment Model teacher, Christy Frazier, encouraged her to enter the contest.
"We had to do some research on the War of 1812 and choose a person we wanted to focus on," she said. "I checked a book out at the library and then went on the Internet and found some more things about Dolley Madison. It was really interesting to learn about her life."
This year's contest was entitled, "Young America Takes a Stand: The War of 1812."
Students from public, private and parochial schools were invited to enter, said DAR member Caryl Sparks. Ten winners were chosen.
Also winning first place were Tanner Evans and Alysa Bradbury, both eighth graders at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School. Second-place winners were Syracuse Elementary School fifth graders Spencer Leonard and Ryan Hatch and St. Joseph eighth graders Ethan Maul and Maria Rios. Third-place winners were Syracuse fifth graders Lauren Burnett and Mara Suzuki and St. Joseph eighth graders Ruby Adele Marden and Elizabeth Schmeling. The students received their awards on President's Day at the Weber County Library.
"At first we were all dreading doing this assignment because it was such a big project, but as I started researching it I became more interested and I was actually disappointed that there was a limit to how much I could write," Alysa said. "I wrote about Captain (Oliver Hazard) Perry. He started in the Navy at a very young age and had a little fleet against a huge British fleet."
Alysa said she is honored to win first place in the essay contest.
"My teacher, Mrs. (Pat) Crosslin made me realize how important this contest really was and I feel pretty honored. It will definitely look good on an application for college."
DAR was founded nationally in 1890 and the Golden Spike Chapter in 1919. The group is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization that focuses on preserving American history, promoting patriotism and securing America's future through better education for children.
"I think it's really awesome to win," Aubrey said. "I had a lot of fun getting all of the information and learning about it."