Jacob Journigan, a fifth grader in teacher Jennifer Gibbs’ class at Wallowa Elementary, not only won the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) essay contest at the local level (DAR Lone Pine Tree chapter) but went on to win at the very challenging state level.
The contest topic was to imagine if you were a pilgrim sailing on the Mayflower.
For his winning essay, titled “The Voyage of the Mayflower: The Journey,” Journigan received $50 and a medal. He would have been invited to attend the state conference but COVID-19 intervened.
Jacob’s essay starts dramatically with a “first person” account of an actual incident that occurred aboard the Mayflower:
“Snap!” A massive storm had struck the main beam. It had broken and we desperately needed to find something to fix it with or else we would all die. One of the men had the idea to use an iron screw that we were going to use for house building, everyone was scared but it didn’t start that way….”
It concludes with the story of building the settlement and the first Thanksgiving:
“The men built the houses along with the older boys, basically anyone helped that would not hurt themselves by doing so. I led a hunting crew out into the woods.
No women helped build houses though. The women were faced with some different jobs, cleaning, washing clothes, and during mealtimes, they cooked. When we got planting fields ready the Indians taught us how to fish. They also taught us how to plant very successful corn crops.
I will tell you about the first Thanksgiving now. Thanksgiving, the first, was actually in October. After a well and plentiful harvest, we had a feast. We invited our friends, the Indians. The men built long tables that could seat a lot of people. The feast lasted three days. There were games, food, and dancing. The Indians played their drums for us and danced more. We sang our English songs for them, and danced too. We had foods like stuffed venison, fish, and smaller animals. You guessed it, we had turkey! It was all very delicious.”