Today Mount Vernon announced The Mount Vernon Prize for Excellence in Civics and History in Honor of Dr. Jennifer London. The prize is awarded to two projects each year recognizing outstanding middle and high school students who apply their understanding of Washington’s life to extend his legacy of public service and scholarship within their classrooms, schools, or communities. Mount Vernon is pleased to announce the 2022 award recipients.

2022 High School Winner:

Mariya Koval, Stevens Point Area Senior High School, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Mariya is an exchange student from Chernihiv, Ukraine. She wrote a paper on how Washington’s words and his actions in the fight for democracy inspired her to use her own words and actions to help Ukraine’s fight from afar. She has given presentations, speeches, and fundraisers all centered around helping people understand the importance of democracy in Ukraine and their history of fighting for personal rule, building those connections to the history and ideals of America’s founding.

Mariya was nominated by her teacher, Dan Hoppe: “I believe that Mariya’s message has spread to our community, the state of Wisconsin, and to the United States, and is reflected in the words of George Washington when he said, ‘A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?’ Mariya is a true guardian of the liberties of her country, Ukraine, and has urged me and other Americans to see the importance of teaching our youth to be guardians of our liberties for the protection of the United States of America.”

Sadie Troy, Mount Vernon’s Manager of Student Learning explains why Mariya was chosen, “She used George Washington’s legacy as her own call to action and the paper showed how history can have personal influence and impact on our lives today. She made the historical relevancy personal where others tend to make it generic.”

Mariya will receive a $5000 award.

 2022 Middle School Winner:

Anthony Labib, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, New Jersey

Anthony used the current environment of the Covid pandemic as inspiration to study how people in the past handled similar situations. His paper lays out the challenge Washington faced through the threat of Smallpox while serving as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. His paper is extremely well researched and provides great background information on the devastation of the disease and how/why it affected the British and American sides differently. He does a great job presenting the challenge Washington faced, the large decisions he made to confront those challenges, and the impact those decisions had on both the health of soldiers and the outcomes of the war.

Anthony’s teacher, CherylAnne Amendola says, “Anthony did superb work as a student of history and dug as deeply as he could at his level to prove his thesis and demonstrate Washington's continued relevance in the contemporary world. His research communicates to our community the importance of public health, even in the founding era, Washington's reliance on science as a strategy for containing disease and winning the war, and his concern for the health of the nation and the general welfare.”

Sadie Troy, Mount Vernon’s Manager of Student Learning explains why Anthony was chosen, “Anthony used the current world around him to study how people in the past handled similar situations. It is a great case study on Washington’s leadership actions during difficult times and highlights the impact that a person’s actions can have on other people.”

Anthony will receive a $1000 award.

Dr. Jennifer London details why she sponsors the prize, “My husband and I have always been admirers of George Washington. We felt that the Mount Vernon Prize for Excellence in Civics and History in Honor of Dr. Jennifer London would be a great way to recognize outstanding student work that demonstrates an understanding and application of George Washington's life, leadership and legacy. We believe, given the incredibly important role that Washington played in our early American history that it was important to create a platform for students to appreciate all aspects of Washington. He was at every important intersection of the American founding; his decisions and practical wisdom were crucial to its success. This award helps increase awareness and greater visibility as to why George Washington remains an important figure in the world today, a figure worth study and worth modeling.”

Mount Vernon is dedicated to supporting teachers and students about the life and legacies of George Washington, with educational resources designed to support further exploration into Washington’s world both in and out of the classroom. Allison Wickens, Mount Vernon’s Vice President for Education, is pleased to support this important recognition, “This award positions us to hear from students about why they think Washington’s biography is important and relevant to their lives today. Because of the generous support of Dr. London, we are thrilled Mount Vernon offers this prize and honors students of the year.”

Nominations for the 2023 Mount Vernon Prize for Excellence in Civics and History in Honor of Dr. Jennifer London are now open. Please visit www.mountvernon.org/StudentAward to learn more.

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