Two DGN students win essay contest, trip to D.C.

DGN sophomores Caitlin McCann and Abigail Bowers (seated), with social studies teachers D.J. Rogala and Amy Wlodek-Holland. Each student submitted a winning essay in a national contest, earning a trip to Washington D.C. this summer.

Downers Grove North High School sophomores Abigail Bowers and Caitlin MCann were each winners of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America 2017 Essay Contest. Both students will represent the school and the state of Illinois in June on an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C., joining other students from across the U.S. In addition, the Social Studies department was awarded a $600 grant from the Dames of Illinois.

“The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America is a wonderful organization that has been generously providing students with these week-long workshop opportunities to expand their learning of how our government operates for nearly 40 years,” says Social Studies Teacher D.J. Rogala, who introduced the department to the essay contest opportunity.

The students submitted essays in response to the question: “Why was the division of power between the President and Senate to nominate a Supreme Court Justice created by our founding fathers?”

“Both Abigail and Caitlin are outstanding students, and their essays displayed thorough research and thoughtful insights,” says Social Studies Teacher Amy Wlodek-Holland, who teaches both students in A.P. U.S. History. “We are so proud that they’ll be representing DGN in D.C.!”

Some of the highlights of the summer trip include meeting with current members of Congress, touring the many historic sites and government buildings, and participating in a model Congress.

Abigail, who has never been to D.C., and Caitlin, who went when she was very young, say they’re excited to visit the capitol and see the sites. They are also looking forward to connecting with other high school students from across the country.

The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, founded in 1891, promotes appreciation for the people, places and events that led to the formation and development of our country. Learn more at

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