Each year the SAR presents an Outstanding Early American History Award to an exceptional project submitted at the National History Day (NHDKY) State Contest. The entry must be related to American Revolutionary War events or people, the U.S. Constitution and or the principles of the Founding Fathers during the period 1750-1800. Chloe Paddack, an 11th grader from Grayson County High School in Leitchfield, Kentucky was this year’s recipient for her senior individual documentary “ A Founder Divided: George Washington’s Changing View of Slavery.”
“When I started to research, I knew from the start that I wanted to create a project discussing the life of the General. After all, he had such an eventful life,” stated Chloe Paddock in her process paper.
“While researching George Washington’s life, Mount Vernon had several new articles discussing the lives of those enslaved by Washington,” added Paddock. “After reading those, I noticed how intertwined the lives of these enslaved and the General really were…”
Under the guidance of her teacher Brent Weedman, a veteran NHD teacher, Chloe began to tie this year’s theme “Triumph and Tragedy” to Washington’s relationship to those enslaved under his control. The ten-minute documentary was presented during competition held at the University of Kentucky. It drew from resources such as Mount Vernon, “Founding Fathers and Slaveholders” by Stephen Ambrose and images created by Charles Willson Peale and Emanuel Luetze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” to select a few.
Throughout the documentary Paddock tells the audience the story of how Washington’s death proved to be a tragedy for the nation but a triumph for those 124 enslaved freed in his will.
Choosing whether to compete in the website, exhibit, performance or documentary category Paddock remarked, “Documentaries are a great way to tell a story and create the emotional reaction one wants the audience to perceive.”
With a $250 SAR check in hand, Chloe Paddock is headed to the University of Maryland June 9 - 13 where she will compete at the National Level in this year’s final round of National History Day. Keep your eyes on this talented film maker; she grabs your attention to her stories of our nation’s founding and the individuals that shaped history.
Outstanding Early American History Awarded presented at National History Day State Contest at the University of Kentucky. (L to R Zac Distel, SAR Program & Exhibit Coordinator, Award Winner Chloe Paddack from Grayson County High School, Colleen Wilson, SAR Center Director.