Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Announces Winners of 2011 Civil War Essay Contest

NEW YORK, NY (May 20, 2011)—The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has announced the winners of the 2011 Civil War Essay Contest. The contest, open to students in Gilder Lehrman Affiliate Schools, is designed to enhance knowledge of the Civil War era and reward outstanding research and writing.

“The students have demonstrated extraordinary critical thinking and research skills on topics ranging from women’s roles during the Civil War to battleship construction,” said Lesley Herrmann, Executive Director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “We are thrilled to honor these budding historians.”

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Civil War Round Table of New York sponsor the contest, which is in its thirteenth year. Winners were selected by a panel of jurors based on use of primary sources; clearness and originality of thesis; organization of the essay; correct documentation of sources; and quality of writing. One hundred forty-nine high school students and sixty-five middle school students, representing the top essays submitted from more than fifty schools, participated in the contest.

High School

First Prize ($1,000 to the winner, $500 honorarium to the winner’s school):
Martin Carlino (Patchogue-Medford High School, Patchogue, NY)
“President Lincoln’s Influence Over the Northern Press”

Second Prize ($750):
Martina Harris (American History High School, Newark, NJ)
“Masqueraded History”

Third Prize ($500):
Rosalie Priddy (Douglas S. Freeman High School, Henrico, VA)
“Red Men in a White Man’s War”

Honorable Mentions ($100):
Brianna Devitt (Montville Township High School, Montville, NJ)
“They Arrived Just in Time: Immigrants of the Civil War Period”

Hugh Geraghty (West Morris Central High School, Chester, NJ)
“Debate Over Reconstruction: President v. Congress”

Amanda Goutos (Academy of American Studies, Long Island City, NY)
“An Angel On and Off the Battlefield”

Jamilah Najiy (Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Greenbelt, MD)
“Reinterpretation of the Emancipation Proclamation”

Ogud Oman (Thomas Edison High School, Minneapolis, MN)
“Emancipation Proclamation”

Taylor Sandella (Notre Dame School, New York, NY)
“Custer Rhymes with Fluster”

Victoria Wilson (Glen Este High School, Cincinnati, OH)
“The Changing Roles of Women During the Civil War”

Middle School

First Prize ($300):
Diyu Pearce-Fischer (Transfiguration School, Tarrytown, NY)
“The First Spill of Blood”

Second Prize ($200):
Johnathan Keefer (Summit Academy Jr. High, Draper, UT)
“My Family’s Experiences with Illness while Serving in the Civil War”

Third Prize ($100):
Kaitlin Guard (Chicod School, Greenville, NC)
“Dynamic Women During the Civil War”

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. Gilder Lehrman creates and works closely with history-focused schools through its Affiliate School Program; organizes teacher seminars and development programs; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and US territory; and offers national book prizes. The Gilder Lehrman website,, serves as a gateway to American history online with rich resources for educators designed specifically for K–12 teachers and students.