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Annual Richard Kemper Memorial Contest 

Contest Description

Women were the focus of this year’s Kemper Contest, asking students to introduce us to American women who have served, or are currently serving our country in the military, as volunteers, or on the home front.  The three winning entries included a poem, an essay and a drawing.  In her poem titled “Angel in Fatigues Sylvie Gheewalla described the work of Ruby Bradley, one of the most highly decorated women in the history of the U.S. Military.  Serving in the Philippines as an Army nurse, she was captured by the Japanese only three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  In captivity, she and several other imprisoned nurses provided medical help to the prisoners.  She had assisted in 230 operations and helped deliver 13 children before being freed by U.S. troops on February 3, 1945.   For the subject of his essay, Mark Yukelis chose retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho, who was the 43rd U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command.  She was the first woman to hold these positions as a Pentagon nurse.  Horoho was also recognized as a Nurse Hero by the American Red Cross on September 14, 2002 for giving first aid to 75 victims during the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. The drawing by Liana Haigis illustrates the harrowing experience of Mary Jennings Hagar.  On July 29, 2009, on her third tour to Afghanistan, Hegar was piloting a combat search and rescue helicopter to rescue soldiers from an active battlefield. Taliban ground forces disabled her helicopter, wounding Hegar with shrapnel to her arm and leg. Despite her injuries, she was able to complete her mission.   Hegar was awarded the Purple Heart for the wounds she sustained.  She was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device in 2011 and remains one of the few women to receive this medal after Amelia Earhart.
The work produced by each of the  winners demonstrated thorough research as well as genuine respect for the women they had selected. 

As a special addition to this year’s awards ceremony, two MHS seniors  were  recognized for their commitment to join the ranks of other women who have served our country. 

Beatrice Karp was presented with a symbolic check for $200,000 by United States Navy Commander Christian Gaskill, representing the Navy’s commitment to finance a full four-year scholarship for Beatrice at the University of Pennsylvania.  Upon graduation, Beatrice will  also receive her commission  as an Ensign in the United States Navy.
Senior Hannah Hanley was also acknowledged for her acceptance into The United States Naval Academy, which she would be entering in the fall.
Both young women received resounding applause!

Click to view the video of the Award Ceremony