FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2007
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
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Virginia Historical Society Names 2007 Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars
Students Attend Lecture Given By Emmy-winner Cokie Roberts
Richmond, VA – October 25 and 26 became memorable days in the lives of eighteen high school students from across the Commonwealth. As participants in the ninth-annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum, the students were honored guests at the fifteenth annual J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr. Lecture featuring author Cokie Roberts. In her lecture, which took place on the evening of October 25 at First Baptist Church, Roberts focused on the role of women in the American Revolution. Then the following morning, the scholars met a second renowned author as they participated in a workshop with Dean King.
"These scholars are fabulous," Roberts said at the beginning of her talk. "They have not only read my book—they can comment on it—but they have read a lot of things around that period. They really are incredibly knowledgeable. The future might be in alright hands after all."
Blanton Scholar applicants are required to submit a research paper related to the chosen forum topic along with a letter of recommendation and a teacher checklist. The Society covers meals and lodging expenses for out-of-town students and their chaperones. Participants received an autographed copy of Roberts' book, which they read before attending the lecture.
Roberts said that she was honored to be invited to a lecture bearing Wilkinson's name, telling his family in the audience that his "public spiritedness was really something special." Roberts spoke about her number one New York Times best-selling book Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. In addition to being an author, Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and is a senior news analyst for National Public Radio. She has more than forty years of experience in broadcasting, has won numerous awards—including three Emmys—and was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.
King, a native Richmonder, is an adventure novelist and author of Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival. King spoke to the students at the Blanton Scholars Forum on October 26 about the craft of writing. This workshop included a question-and-answer session with the speaker where students were able to ask King about his literary success. There was also time for King to sign copies of his book for the scholars.
The Blanton Scholars program, named in honor of a former president of the historical society, was established almost a decade ago by a generous benefactor who wanted to create a statewide forum for high school students studying Virginia and American history.
"We are very proud of the programs and this year's Blanton Scholars," said Charles F. Bryan, Jr., President and CEO of the VHS. "We hope that the inspiring words of both of these talented authors will stick with the students throughout their educational endeavors."
2007 Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars
Miccah M. Bartley, Russell
Mary Elizabeth Cook, Russell
John M. DiGrazia, Richmond
Abigail Dillingham, Alexandria
Brittany L. Duffy, Loudoun
Sara P. Freeman, Richmond
Alexandra H. Gecker, Richmond
Abra Guo, Henrico
Amber Shae Horn, Russell
Brian Kusiak, Richmond
Daniel W. May, Fairfax
Patricia K. McNally, Richmond
Alexa Proffitt, Henrico
Asya L. Simons, Chesterfield
Daniel Thorpe, Richmond
Allie Vandivier, Fairfax
Kelsey R. Weissgold, Richmond
Kaitlyn E. Wilkes, Richmond
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit