The George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest was originally established and named in honor of President Calvin Coolidge, who won a local SAR essay contest while a student at Amherst. The contest was reestablished in 1988 by Compatriot McCarthy DeMere. In 1995, the contest was renamed the George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest in honor of their generous gift to the SAR to support this contest. The program is designed to give freshman, sophomore, junior and senior students an opportunity to explore events that shaped American history.
Conducted at the Chapter, State Society and National Society levels, the students must submit an original essay with topics based on original research and deal with an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution.
Abbie Minard is the first place winner of the Knight Essay Contest for both the Pittsburgh Chapter and the Pennsylvania Society of the SAR. A junior at Shady Side Academy, she is an editor for the school newspaper, head of the literary magazine, and vice president of the speech and debate team. On weekends she volunteers at the Depreciation Lands Museum as a costumed interpreter of pioneer life in 1792. Abbie especially enjoys teaching visitors about the settlement of western Pennsylvania after the Revolutionary War.