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DAR presents good citizenship award to high school senior

By Staff | Mar 24, 2016

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary A good citizenship award was given to senior Courtney Lynne Schonewolf (center) at a DAR luncheon on Tuesday, March 8 at the First United Methodist Church in Muncy. With her are (left to right) Marilee Sholtis, First Regent, DAR and Courtney's parents, Richard and Cheryl Schonewolf and Chris Whitcomb, 2nd Vice-Regent for DAR.

MUNCY – For the past 125 years, the The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has admitted more than 950,000 members to “perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence.”

On Tuesday, March 8 a special Good Citizens Award was given to high school senior, Courtney Lynne Schonewolf of South Williamsport for her winning essay on good citizenship. The luncheon took place at the First United Methodist Church in Muncy and the award was given to her by 2nd Vice-Regent, Crystal Gansell Whitcomb from Picture Rocks and the North central DAR chapter.

“Every year, someone gets this award,” she said. Courtney was selected from her peers in her senior class. By contacting the guidance counselors, the local chapter covers all the schools in Lycoming County. “This is a nationwide program,” Whitcomb added.

The award is based on the following qualities: dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. Courtney submitted her essay in December. The announcement was made in early September, and now Courtney will enter the state finals. She also received a $100 check from the chapter, a good citizenship pin and a certificate of merit.

According to Marilee Sholtis from Muncy and 1st Regent for the local chapter, 3 non DAR judges look at the essays and determine the winning one.

Courtney said she only had 2 hours to write the essay and her topic was a mystery until then. She had to write it out by hand on the spot from her head, she reported. She came up with 533 winning words and titled it “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It.” Her focus question was “Of our American rights and freedoms, which one would you choose to celebrate and why?”

The local DAR chapter was formed in December 1896 by Mrs. Mary White Emery who served as Regent until 1898 followed by Mrs. Carole Cone Brown.

Sholtis explained that when the Lycoming Chapter DAR formed, there were many women still living whose fathers had fought in the Revolutionary War. Of the 33 original Daughters in Pennsylvania, 3 became members of the Lycoming chapter.

Currently there are 105 members. Recently they made arrangements to meet monthly here in Muncy as many of the members and associates live close within the East Lycoming proximity. They always meet the second Tuesday of every month except for January, February, July and August.

Formerly the chapter met at the Women’s Club but the stairs became a problem for many of the elder members. “Muncy is a new venue for us,” said Mindelle Bartholomew from Milton and also the regional registrar. She assists with lineage research for the chapter and often seeks records prior to 1940. “We use primary source documents like obits, marriage certificates and census records.”

Pins adorn the hearts of many of the members which denote “ancestor bars” for the 13 original colonies. The DAR emblem is a golden wheel surrounded by shining spokes tipped with a star. “It is the only jewel in the world that money cannot buy – without the proof of ancestry that no one can deny.” Real daughters are those whose fathers served in the revolution.

All supporting documentation must be hard copy for review. The local chapter also has a website and if interested in becoming a member, an application can be completed online.

DAR national headquarters are in Washington DC and offers to the public a genealogical library, decorative arts museum, historic document collection and concert hall.