History not preserved will be forgotten. Something the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) works to prevent by teaching future generations how America came to be.
For the past 70 years, the NSCDA Birmingham Chapter, with the help of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences History Department, has awarded cash prizes to Samford University students for writing research papers on the colonial period.
On March 25, that tradition continued. Five bright students received more than $5,000 in cash. The two first-place winners made presentations at the 66th Annual American Independence Awards luncheon held at The Country Club of Birmingham. The first luncheon since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yorgo Sarris won first place for his paper, “A Truly Lost Cause?: Examining Loyalist influence on the early American Republic.” Sarris graduated from Samford in the Spring of 2022 and will attend the University of Chicago School of Law this fall.
Kristofer Labenske, the other first-place winner, presented his paper, “An Anglican Vision for Empire: The Origins and Ideals of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.” Labenske is currently a graduate student at Beeson Divinity School.
Coming in second place, Collin de la Vergne Stafford won with his paper, “The Spark of a New Nation: How Artillery Shaped the American Revolution.”
Charlie Williams took home third with his paper, “A Spirit of Courage: The Puritan Experiment and Its Impact.”
Mary Blake Brock’s “Stars, Stripes, Sewing Machines, and Elizabeth Betsy Ross: The Founding Mother of Nationalism and Revolutionary America” came in fourth place.
Each year the essays are bound in a volume and stored in a permanent collection at Samford University Library. Volume 64 (2020), 65 (2021), and 66 (2022) were each dedicated to a Dame that has shown outstanding service to the organization.