What started as a project for extra credit in a History course taught by Mr. Bellas at Tippecanoe High School has become an essay competing at a national level for Jessica Miller. A junior, Miller entered an essay in a contest for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and won at districts and state before advancing to the national level. While the results for nationals have not yet been announced, it’s a big achievement for Miller to just be in the running for the best essay in the country.

The topic for the essay, assigned by the DAR, was how modern technology would have affected Christopher Columbus on his voyage to discover America. With an interest in both history and writing, Miller decided to explore the topic. “I enjoy doing research and had some free time in study hall back in the beginning of the school year before homework started to pick-up so I worked on it then,” said Miller.

It was a very enlightening experience for Miller, who learned a lot, specifically about ocean technology. Her focus on the essay was how the technology could have been used to help with the problems faced on the voyage. “The crew had a fear of running out of food and with today’s modern technology they would have been able to store more food and plan for how much they needed. Also with social media they would have been able to communicate with family which would have caused less of a chance for a mutiny,” she said.

Miller received certificates for winning at both levels, as well as $100 for state. All the success has been more than she ever imagined. “I definitely never expected to win. It was a total surprise,” she said.

In addition, Miller has also recently won a Rotary speech contest, earned honorable mention is a Scholastic Arts contest, and best in category for a photography contest for the Brukner Nature Center.