MILTON —The Daughters of the American Revolution Three Rivers Chapter recently announced the top finishers of the Good Citizen Awards.

Kennedy Cato of Jay High School won the contest, while Caitlyn Frizzell of Milton High School came in second.

"I was surprised and honored," Cato said of winning the chapter contest.

"Both girls received modest scholarships from our chapter," Rita Takeuchi, vice regent, said.

According to a press release, the contest is open to high school seniors who best exemplify the qualities of a good citizen: dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.

Participating students had to submit academic transcripts, a personal statement, their resume — and then write an essay on the spot. Students did not know the topic of essay until they arrived to write. Students were placed in a room where they were required to write without the use of the internet or any outside resources.

"It was definitely a little nerve-wracking," said Cato said. What helped reduce anxiety, she said, was remembering classes she had taken to prepare her for this type of writing assignment.

The topic this year was "What new challenges will America face as we move forward into the future?"

Here is an excerpt from Cato's essay:

"As America continues to move into the future, technology advances and continues to consume the minds of Americans, therefore, the knowledge of our countries [sic] history may soon be forgotten. Watching a television show one night with my family we witnessed college students being asked about our presidents, to my surprise some didn't even know who our first president was, George Washington, one of our founding fathers. I blame this partly on technology and the idea that Americans are always on their phones, at work and in the classroom altering any knowledge that is given about America, past or present. This affects the way people view different political topics. Knowledge of our history is essential is making decisions for the future. Americans need to realize this and become more aware of what's going on around them instead of in front of them."

Cato also competed at the state level at the Florida State Society DAR contest.

Cato plans on attending the University of West Florida for one year, then transfer to Florida State University where she wants to study health sciences. Cato's goal is to become a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistance.