Ashland Middle School Students Shine Bright in DAR Art Contest 

Ashland Middle School Students Shine Bright in DAR Art Contest 

Lora Parsons

The Ashland Beacon

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Two Ashland Middle School students recently received recognition for their artistic ability when they won the Junior American Citizens (JAC) of the Daughters of the American Revolution Art Contest. Emma Kate Hieneman, a 6th grader, and Destiny Faith Gregg, an 8th grader, taught by art teacher, Cory Brown, recently learned of their state and regional victories at the conference hosted by the Kentucky Society--Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).


This centuries-old organization focuses on local, national and global service. Founded in 1890, more than one million women have joined forces to foster “historic preservation, education and patriotism” in their communities. Honoring those who fought during the Revolutionary War through these pathways is key, according to the organization’s website, which records that members have racked up a cumulative 561,723 hours of community service so far this year. Visitors to their headquarters in Washington, D.C., can find a genealogical resource library, a decorative arts museum, a collection of historic documents and a concert hall. The Kentucky Society--DAR serves within the Bluegrass State to unite nearly 5,000 women in 83 chapters as they strive to uphold the values of the national organization through service to their communities, state and nation.

While many in our community have likely benefited from the work of these dedicated women, most recently this impact was felt by Brown’s AMS art students. During the first semester of this school year, all students who were enrolled in an art class competed in the Junior American Citizens (JAC) of the DAR Art Contest. This contest is one of several youth programs available to the community through the organization’s commitment to education--one of its three foundational principles. Brown shared: “This year's theme was ‘Sparkling in the Stars with the 50th Anniversary of the NASA Space Shuttle Program.’ It was open to students across the country, with multiple categories and grade winners for each category.” Brown’s classes participated in the Stamp Design category, where two students excelled. Hieneman and Gregg were both state champions for their stamp creations. Students and their families, along with Brown, attended the Kentucky Society--DAR Conference, where they learned they were not only victorious at the state level; they also were deemed East Central District Winners. Their designs bested competitors from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri!

When asked about the opportunity to submit their work on such a large platform, Gregg shared: “This project gave me a chance to show my art to people outside of my school and my family--to people who would have an unbiased opinion. It meant a lot to me in being able to show my skills.” 

It was exactly this sort of takeaway that Brown hoped all of his students would experience, explaining, “As an art teacher, I encourage my students to participate in art contests to provide them with valuable exposure to different audiences and artistic perspectives.” He also added that the potential for receiving awards helps to “foster a sense of accomplishment and recognition for their hard work and creativity.” 

Hieneman spoke to exactly that sentiment when she said of her participation: “I am glad that I got to challenge myself with this competition, and this just makes me proud that I accomplished something this big.”

With submissions coming in from five states, the girls have every reason to be proud of their accomplishment. Though they both feel proud of the work they submitted, they also acknowledge that their success wasn’t without some degree of struggle. Hieneman said her greatest challenge was in “getting the astronaut to look right,” and that overcoming this challenge was part of what she was most grateful for. Overcoming a difficulty of this sort makes the victory that much sweeter. For Gregg, the difficulty came after the piece was submitted. Waiting to hear if she had placed in the contest and the feeling of anticipation were the most difficult parts of her experience. Regardless of how they each struggled, or at what point in the competition their struggle came about, the girls both recognize that the feeling of pride that followed their victory made the difficulty worthwhile.

With such high accolades going to students in our local area, it is undoubtedly the desire of our local DAR Poage Chapter members that students continue to participate in the many activities and contests sponsored by the organization on a local, state and national level. Similar opportunities can be found for student participation by visiting the DAR homepage at Other contests can be found there as well as teacher resources, scholarship opportunities and grant programs, to name a few. Visitors to the page will not be disappointed by the wide array of ways to take advantage of the dedicated work of the DAR. Greater opportunities for students to participate in programs like Gregg and Hieneman just might lead to other talent from our local area getting to walk among these already-shining stars.

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