Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 10/26/09

Students and Teachers Win Honors for Promoting Historic Preservation in National Contests

Students declare “It’s Our Turn: Fight to Save Civil War Battlefields” in posters and essays; Teachers pen innovative, interactive lesson plans

(Washington, DC) – The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the hallowed ground of Civil War battlefields, is pleased to announce the winners of three annual contests designed to promote the study of American history and the importance of preservation.

Two of the contests were aimed at students, asking them to design posters and pen essays explaining the importance of protecting historic sites; the third asked classroom teachers to submit their most innovative and successful lesson plans for teaching Civil War history.  All three were cosponsored by History, formerly The History Channel.

“The passion and talent displayed by these young people is truly impressive,” said CWPT president Jim Lighthizer.  “They represent the future generations for whom we are working to preserve these historic places.  And after learning from the extraordinary teachers who offered us a glimpse inside their classrooms, I am confident they will be careful stewards of that legacy.”

Student essays are judged in two divisions — middle school and high school — with the poster contest adding a third category for elementary school students.  Winners in each category receive a cash prize, while their teachers receive History gift certificates in corresponding amounts.  The theme for the 2009 contest was “It’s Our Turn: Fight to Save Civil War Battlefields.”

The Best Civil War Lesson Plan contest began two years ago to recognize and showcase the unique and inspiring tactics educators across the country use to bring history alive for their students.  Entrants submitted detailed descriptions of their classroom plan, including handouts, and were required to incorporate at least one primary source, such as a historic photograph, newspaper article, diary, letter or artifact.  Lessons were also required to correlate to the appropriate state standards or National Council for Social Studies strands.

“I am extremely pleased to recognize these winners,” Lighthizer said. “I sincerely hope they will continue to use their talents to share the beauty of Civil War battlefields and their love of history with others.”

Civil War Essay Contest Winners
High School Division: Brandi Oswald, 12th grade, Bedford High School, Temperance, Mich., Teacher – Scott Denniss; Elizabeth Miller, 10th grade, S.A.L.T., Wheelock, Texas, Teacher – Lanette Schulte; Shier Morillo, 11th grade, Johnson Island Charter High School, Charleston, S.C., Teacher – Randy Hilyer.

Middle School Division: Rachel Stroder, 9th grade, Greenwood Laboratory School, Springfield, Mo., Teacher – Steve Hinch; Abigail Blum, 7th grade, Trinity School, Ellicott City, Md., Teacher – Tom Lauth; Ian Durkin, 7th grade, Browne Academy, Alexandria, Va., Teacher – Lelia Grinnan

Civil War Poster Contest Winners
High School Division: Shelby Harper, 11th grade, Johnson Island Charter High School, Charleston, S.C., Teacher – Randy Hilyer; Allison Havlik, 12th grade, Mundelein High School, Mundelein, Ill., Teacher – Tom Huhn; Cole Thompson, 10th grade, Turner Ashby High School, Bridgewater, Va., Teacher – Brianna Gray;

Middle School Division: Nora M. Anderson, 7th grade, home school, East China, Mich., Teacher – Maureen Anderson;  Mark Frederick, 8th grade, Altoona Central Catholic Middle School, Altoona, Pa., Teacher – Mark Robuk; Evan Wachter, 8th grade, J.F. Hillyard Middle School, Harrisonburg, Va., Teacher – Ms. Fly.

Elementary School Division: Drew Lewis, 4th grade, Starr Elementary School, Starr, S.C., Teacher – Tina Long; Jatai Walker, 5th grade, Wadsworth Elementary School, Palm Coast., Fla., Teacher – Barbara Swanson; Nicole Bien, 5th grade, West End School, Lynbrook, N.Y., Teacher – Donna Smith.

Civil War Lesson Plan Contest Winners
First Place: Richard Sprecher and Gail Fribush of Julius West Middle School, in Rockville, Md., for “Preservation of Civil War Battlefields.”

Second Place: Matt Young of Pikesville Middle School in Baltimore, Md., for “The Roads to Antietam.”

Third Place: Mary Anthrop of Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School in Lafayette, Ind., for “Fighting for African-American Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.”

With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.  CWPT’s website is


(To learn more about the CWPT education initiatives and resources for teachers and students, visit


  • Jim Campi, CWPT, (202) 367-1861 ext. 7205
  • Mary Koik, CWPT, (202) 367-1861 ext. 7231

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