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North Royalton Middle School Students win Scholarship for Washington, D.C.
North Royalton Middle School administered an essay scholarship contest to all eighth graders to honor the memory of Sgt. John Shepherd, who lived nearly 118 years, making him most likely the longest-lived veteran of the American Revolution. Shepherd came to North Royalton in 1817 with his daughter, Margaret Engle, and they were one of the first settlers in the area.

The goal was to foster an interest in American History and North Royalton history among this age group. The chosen winners, Matthew Lam and Julia Korpusik, received scholarships at the April 13 Board of Education meeting for the school’s annual three-day trip to Washington, D.C. on May 20-22. While in the nation’s capital, students enjoy a tour of key monuments and governmental institutions by Educational Discovery Tours. The scholarship program is headed by Charles Phebus, who is the fourth great-grandson of John Shepherd.

“We hope this opportunity will have a positive impact on the students at NRMS while keeping Mr. Shepherd’s legacy alive and well,” said the school’s principal, Jeffrey Cicerchi.

The middle school is a short walking distance from the cemetery where Mr. Shepherd’s remains are located. Mr. Phebus discovered his ancestor’s grave in North Royalton after many years of genealogical research. Mr. Phebus has conducted two major events in North Royalton to honor John Shepherd and the American Soldier, the first year event saw the first ever trip to Ohio by the Traveling Liberty Bell from Texas. Sgt. Shepherd fought in Washington’s army not only during the Revolution, but also was with Washington at Braddock’s Defeat of 1755. He was truly “with Washington all the way.”

“The majority of these funds were from groups and individuals outside of North Royalton,” said Len Reinhard, retired U.S. History teacher who presented the two scholarships at the board meeting. “If this worthwhile scholarship is to continue, then local funding will be necessary.”

More than 20 essays were submitted for evaluation. “I would like to commend all those student who participated and those at the Middle School who made this opportunity a reality,” said Reinhard.