Capt. Samuel Felt DAR fetes five ‘Good Citizens’Published 10:08am Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – Five “Good Citizens” were introduced Monday afternoon at Cass District Library.
A future teacher, a college marching band member, a South Carolina horsewoman, a speech pathologist and a social worker if his dream of playing professional football doesn’t pan out, they are: Dawn Smith, Brandywine High School, Niles; Cody Cox, Dowagiac Union High School; Katie Kopf, Edwardsburg High School; Vincent Sheetz, Marcellus High School; and Steven Eleazer, Ross Beatty High School, Cassopolis.
Two other “Good Citizens,” Jessica Sherburn of Decatur High School and Micaela Burnett of Lawrence High School, were unable to be present.
Each December Capt. Samuel Felt Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) recognizes area high school seniors who excel in dependability, service, leadership and patriotism “to an outstanding degree,” Chair Sarah Essex said.
Good Citizens are chosen from the senior class of high schools nationwide.
“The DAR’s aim in this program is to stress the qualities of a good citizen among high school students,” Essex said. “The DAR recommends that the faculty choose three seniors who have demonstrated the qualities of a good citizen. From these three students, the senior class selects one, however, each school may use a method of its own for selection of a good citizen.”
The selected senior must collect two recommendation letters, a transcript, create an outline of information about him or herself and his or her school experiences.
Then the candidate must write a timed two-hour essay without assistance even from reference materials.
These packets of information are submitted to three non-DAR judges who select one of the Good Citizens whose essay advances to the state level for further competition.
“These young people seated here before you have demonstrated their dependability through truthfulness, loyalty and punctuality,” Essex said.
“They have shown their desire and ability to serve through cooperation, courtesy and consideration of others.
“Their leadership is evident in their personality, self-control and ability to assume responsibility. Their patriotism shines through their unselfish interest in family, school, community and nation.”
Parents and grandparents’ “training, standards and support created and molded these young people – the foundations of our future,” Essex added.
Cody, 18, is a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
He plays percussion in the Chieftain Marching Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band and is president of National Honor Society.
He also participates in Humanities Club and Student Senate.
“After high school I plan on attending Michigan State University and joining the band,” Cody said.
Accompanying Cody were his parents, Chris and Kara Cox, both educators; his grandmother, Martha Cox; and his youngest sister, Ellen.
Dawn, 18, is a Spanish student of “Senora Essex.” She was also accompanied by her father, Mark.
Cheerleading is one of her main activities, both for BHS and the competitive Niles Elite team involving students from several surrounding towns. Dawn also coaches her own teams for children ages 4-15 in Indiana – Hobart on Mondays and Michigan City on Thursdays.
Springs she participates in track and field.
For the past three summers she volunteered at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center as a front desk greeter in the cancer center.
“Once they’re settled in, I’ll be the greeter on the sixth floor,” Dawn said. “They just opened today. I’ve been helping them move for the past two weeks” from downtown South Bend to the north side of Mishawaka.
She belongs to Student Council and last week did a community service project with National Honor Society to brighten Christmas for underprivileged children.
“I’d like to attend either the University of Georgia or the University of Virginia to study political science with a minor in teaching and translation. Later I will teach high school government.”
Katie is president of the EHS senior class, a fourth-year Student Council member and National Honor Society treasurer.
“We recently had a very successful Operation Christmas,” Katie said.
“For Operation Christmas, all 36 NHS members take 40 first graders shopping for Christmas gifts for their family members. After shopping, we all got to go to Chuck E. Cheese, which was fun.”
Her family belongs to Granger Community Church, where they enjoy volunteering.
“I am also a member of the equestrian team,” which finished third in Michigan at state competition last year. “I show quarterhorses on the national level. I just recently have been accepted into the University of South Carolina, where I will compete on its equestrian team.”
Vincent, 18, started all four years for the Marcellus soccer team.
He also plays on the golf and basketball teams and played baseball one season.
“I’ve also been in Student Council seems like forever,” Vincent said, “since about the fifth grade. Freshman and sophomore years I was class officer. Junior year I was treasurer. Now I’m president.”
Vincent’s goal is to attend Western Michigan University and become a speech pathologist.
“What influenced me to do that job is my mom, who is a nursing administrator who works in Indiana,” but formerly was employed at Dowagiac Nursing Home.
“I did a lot of community service hours when I was little,” he said.
“Bingo games. I really learned to love that environment and spending time with those people and taking them to their rooms. Speech pathology, I like to talk and communicate with people, so I think that will be a good job for me.”
Steven “stays busy playing sports – basketball, football, track. After school, I’ve always had this dream since I was a kid to play professional football. Everybody tells me I have to have a back-up plan, so I plan to be a social worker. I’ve always liked to help people. My mother is a nurse and she always impressed on me to look out for somebody else before you look out for yourself. That’s embedded into who I am.”
“I’ve always pushed myself to be on honor roll,” Steven continued. “I slacked off freshman year, but I learned that to get what you want in life, you always have to work hard. It took me a little while to grasp that, but I got a 4.0 last trimester. I plan to major in sociology and to get (straight A’s)” the rest of senior year.
“Being a professional football player takes hard work, dedication and everything that makes a good DAR citizen,” Steven concluded.
Music was provided by the 25-member Marcellus High School Jazz Band, directed by Joe Lekan.
The Marcellus band recently performed at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. About a third of the student body plays in band, Lekan said.
The tea was hosted by Vice Regent Jane Wagel, Abigail Schten, Louise White and Ronni Seem.
DAR Regent Paula Johnson, a former history teacher, is president of the Marcellus school board.