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People

Ridge Elementary club wins DAR citizen award

Pictured are (front row, from left) Mikaela Velazquez, Frank Presbitero, Naomi Montgomery, Vanna Arteaga, Mya Taylor, Kaelin Whims, Julia Bohrer, Rachel Marquez, (back row) Austin Vance, Ann Smelser, Cindy Hilliger and Mary Erhardt.
Pictured are (front row, from left) Mikaela Velazquez, Frank Presbitero, Naomi Montgomery, Vanna Arteaga, Mya Taylor, Kaelin Whims, Julia Bohrer, Rachel Marquez, (back row) Austin Vance, Ann Smelser, Cindy Hilliger and Mary Erhardt.

JOLIET – On Feb. 3, the Louis Joliet Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognized the Ridge Elementary Patriot Pride Club as the DAR Junior American Citizen Community Group winner for 2017.

The origins of the Junior American Citizens can be traced to October 1901. The Cincinnati Chapter NSDAR organized a club to teach children the underlying principles of our government, of American sentiment, and of all that will go toward making them good citizens.

JAC is the national society’s second oldest youth-oriented committee, preceded only by the Children of the American Revolution. Today, through JAC clubs and contests, the society promotes good citizenship and appreciation of American heritage and history for every child in the United States from preschool to grade 12.

The 2017 JAC theme was the “100th Anniversary of World War I: Service on the Homefront.” Since the end of World War I, Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day, has been observed as a memorial to members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. The red remembrance poppy became popular due to a poem written by John McCrae titled “In Flanders Fields.”

Ridge Elementary School’s Patriot Pride Club in Plainfield made poppies to pass out to all the veterans who attended the school’s Veterans’ Day celebration on Nov. 10.

Ann Smelser, a fourth-grade teacher at Ridge Elementary, founder of the Patriot Pride Club, received a $500 grant from the DAR Helen Pouch Memorial Fund for supplies for the club in 2017.

She and Louis Joliet Chapter NSDAR member Lisa Burrows worked with fourth- and fifth-grade student members of the Patriot Pride Club to make the poppies. Nine of the Patriot Pride Club members attended the Student Recognition Program and received certificates and pins.

For more information about DAR, visit www.dar.org or contact Cyndi Valencia at iscardar@ymail.com.

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