Madison Yancy, a junior at New Canaan High School, won first place in the Christopher Columbus Essay Contest of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter, of the National Society of the Daughters of American Revolution.

Richard Webb, Yancy's history teacher and chairman of the high school's history department, announced to his classes that the essay contest was available to all high school students. Yancy was interested in the topic and decided to enter. She heard about the contest two weeks before the deadline, contacted the chapter's American history chairman, Barbara Wagner, and submitted her essay.

The topic of the essay this year was, "A century ago, in 1912, our nation dedicated a magnificent monument in Washington, D.C., containing the inscription: `To the memory of Christopher Columbus, whose high faith and indomitable courage gave to mankind a New World.' How were high faith and indomitable courage demonstrated in the life and actions of Columbus, and how did they give to mankind a new world?" And the title of the essay was "How did the faith and courage of Christopher Columbus give to mankind a new world?"

Yancy's essay is now competing with the entries from all chapters in Connecticut.

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Since 1996, the DAR has joined with the National Italian American Foundation to sponsor an annual national essay contest on Christopher Columbus. The contest is open to students in grades 9 to 12 in public, private, and parochial schools, or those who are home-schooled.