Young students of the Revolutionary War honored by local club

MANATEE -- Her aspirations to be a history professor helped Lakewood Ranch High School graduate Nola Berish prepare a captivating essay on Revolutionary War spy John Honeyman.

As it turned out, Berish's essay, "John Honeyman: Legendary Double Agent of the Battle of Trenton," was awarded the George and Stella Knight Essay Medal by the Saramana Chapter of the Florida Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) during a luncheon at Sara Bay Country Club Friday.

For those who may have forgotten their elementary or middle-school lessons on the American Revolution, Honeyman served the British during the French and Indian War, but sympathized with the Americans and became a spy for George Wash

ington in 1776. His disinformation to the British helped the Americans win the Battle of Trenton.

"I like history and I love to read," said Berish, a Braden Woods resident who graduated from Lakewood Ranch High School during a winter commencement last month and is already in freshman orientation at the University of Tampa.

Berish read her essay before 50 SAR members and guests. She was one of four young adults honored Friday by the SAR.

Samantha "Sam" Hamel, a junior at Sarasota's Riverview High School, won a bronze Good Citizenship Medal for her essay, "Common Sense and the Common Man," about Thomas Paine's hugely popular pamphlet, "Common Sense," which pointed out the unfair actions of the British leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Colton B. McVety, 17, of Sarasota High School, and a member of the Sailor Circus, won the Arthur and Berdena King Eagle Scout Scholarship Award for his essay, "A Critical Diversion." about 200 men from Gloucester County, N.J., who fought against the British in 1776.

"What made Colton's essay remarkable was that one of the Gloucester 200 was one of his ancestors, William Tomlin," said judge Gilbert A. Smith Jr., Eagle Scout scholarship contest committee co-chairman.

Lee David Weis, 16, a student in the State College of Florida Collegiate School, took second place in the Eagle Scout essay competition with, "The HMS Jersey," his account of British ships that were converted into prisons during the Revolutionary War.

Of roughly 12,000 Americans on prison ships, only about 1,400 were rescued after the war, Lee said.

"There's a reason he sounded great," said Lee's mother, Sabrina. "He practiced reading that essay out loud at home about nine times."

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.