Director of Public Affairs
New award recognizes excellence in civics and history; annual cash prize to high school, middle school student
Mount Vernon, Virginia -- Today Mount Vernon unveiled the sponsorship of a new student award. The Mount Vernon Prize for Excellence in Civics and History in Honor of Dr. Jennifer London will be 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. On September 17, 2021, Mount Vernon is pleased to announce the inaugural award recipients.
2021 High School Winner: Eden Fisher
Eden is a high school student from Nevada High School in Nevada, Missouri. Inspired by Washington’s dedication to public service, Eden spent her much of her junior and senior years advocating for educational reform within her state legislature. She testified on behalf of two different bills submitted to the House Committee of Elementary and Secondary Education that will benefit student physical and mental health all across her state. One bill was to change education for teachers regarding stress management so they can identify and assist struggling students while another bill was to require education for students regarding the dangers of vaping.
Sadie Troy, Mount Vernon’s Manager of Student Learning explains why Eden was chosen, “Eden touched on so many great facets of Washington’s legacy, including numerous times he stepped out of his comfort zone and took risks to make changes that he believed in. We here at Mount Vernon are so happy that George Washington was able to inspire her ability to take risks to improve her community, and we know that work will continue his legacy and inspire many students to take their own risks for the service of others.”
Eden will receive a $5000 award and a family membership to Mount Vernon.
2021 Middle School Winner: Sepehr Agah
Although he is now a rising freshmen at Blacksburg High School in Blacksburg, Virginia, Sepehr is being honored for an essay he wrote as an 8th grader, entitled Washington's Farewell Address: The Letter that Shaped the Nation. Through his paper and research, Sepehr was not only able to share information about Washington’s impact on our country, but also extend Washington’s legacy of supporting classroom education.
Sadie Troy, Mount Vernon’s Manager of Student Learning explains why Sepehr was chosen, “Through his paper, Sepehr demonstrated multiple connections between Washington’s words and the inspiration they provided many presidents that followed him. We at Mount Vernon were inspired by how he showed Washington’s influence on the different generations throughout the two centuries after his death, and how his guiding words still ring true
today. We know his analysis will continue to inspire other students to look to Washington’s words as models and guidance when facing their own decisions in life.”
Sepehr will receive a $1000 award and family membership to Mount Vernon.
Dr. Jennifer London details why she wanted to sponsor the new 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 will help 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 add this important recognition, “This award allows us to do something entirely new. It 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 will now offer this prize and honor students of the year.”
The 2021 students of the year will be interviewed and awarded the Mount Vernon Prize for Excellence in Civics and History in Honor of Dr. Jennifer London presented via a livestream beginning at 4pm ET on Friday, September 17.
Nominations for the 2022 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.
Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, is owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the oldest national historic preservation organization in the United States.