OFE News Release
Colonial Day Literature Contest Winner Announced
February 6, 2007
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin congratulates Hilldale Elementary School fifth-grader Kacie Mills, who was named winner of the 2007 Colonial Day at the Capitol Literature Contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Also pictured (from left) are her teachers, Carla Jo Carter, Christine Clay and her principal, Patty Balenseifen.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kacie Mills, a fifth-grader from Hilldale Elementary School in the Putnam City Public Schools district, has been named the winner of the 2007 Colonial Day at the Capitol Literature Contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
Kacie was recognized and read her award-winning poem, “To Be an American,” during Colonial Day at the Capitol on Friday, Feb. 2. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, portrayed by historical interpreter Stephen Smith of Tulsa, presented Kacie with a plaque and a $100 savings bond during the opening session in the House of Representatives Chambers at the State Capitol. Kacie’s principal, Patty Balenseifen, and teachers Carla Jo Carter and Christine Clay were also recognized.
“Kacie is an outstanding student who enjoys reading, creative writing, and arts & crafts,” Carter said. She is also active in her church and participates in honor choir.
More than 500 metro-area students – many in colonial attire – attended Colonial Day at the Capitol, which featured a special appearance by Colonial Williamsburg historical interpreter Sheila Arnold, who portrays Oney Judge. Judge was the personal maid servant to Martha Washington from pre-Revolutionary War days until the last year of George Washington’s presidency. Joining Arnold were several Oklahoma-based reenactors, portraying such historical figures as Ben Franklin, John Adams, Sacagawea and a militia soldier. During teacher-led sessions, students also played colonial games, practiced early-American dances, explored colonial trades and tested their skills as junior archaeologists.
Colonial Day is coordinated annually by teachers who have participated in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute through a fellowship program administered by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Colonial Day 2007 was sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council and a state appropriation through the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and Oklahoma City businessman Charles L. Oppenheim.
Following is the text of Kacie’s poem, “To Be an American.”
What my country means to me,
Freedom and happiness
The right to be free
To choose my future
And what I want to be.
Ole glory the flag
She waves free and true
And we honor our colors
Of the red, white and blue.
To the brave men and women
Who fight for our rights,
They’re heroes to all
And in our prayers each night.
Our hearts go out to all this is true
To our country, our soldiers
And the red, white and blue.
Just look around and you can see
What my country means to me.
Thank you all for this opportunity.