Marissa Margery Ryan said her dad inspired her to care more about politics and her country because he cares so much.
“Ever since I was in middle school, I have found a special appreciation for history and what events created the society I live in,” said the Carmel High School senior, the daughter of Daniel and Elyse Ryan. She accepted the 2020 Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen of the Year award on Sunday afternoon during a special DAR Awards Tea at the First United Methodist Church of Noblesville.
“My passion for history is something my dad and I have always been able to bond over, often leading to conversations about the long line of veterans in my family,” said Ryan, whose many relatives were war veterans, including a great-grandfather in World War II and another relative in the Revolutionary War, she said.
Ryan said. “Because of those who dedicated their lives to me, both in the past and the present, I don’t just put my hand over my heart, I say the words on the National Anthem each morning.”
She plans to vote in the primary and presidential elections this year. “Now that I am 18, I will make the most of my adulthood,” said Ryan, who has already registered to vote. “I will continue my efforts to make sure others around me understand the importance of expressing their individualism….”
The Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest was not only based on being a good citizen and serving our country but also based on an essay “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It,” which she stood and read aloud to those in attendance. “You and your peers are our nation’s leaders of tomorrow…,” she wrote as opener of her essay.
All of the finalists had impressive resumes with many high school activities, achievements and areas of special interests, way too many to mention all of their accolades.
At school, Ryan has been involved in many activities that include: Cross Country, serving on the newspaper staff, being a host of the school’s broadcast station and a member of Greyhound Connections, a club that helps new students transition to CHS. She is a member of Unified Bocce ball, a unified club focused on inclusion, allowing those with intellectual and physical disabilities to have fun and create lasting relationships. She volunteers with Best Buddies and is in National Honors Society 12, a prestigious club for graduating seniors that pushes her to look for more service opportunities.
“Marissa’s commitment to serving in her community rounds out her high school experience and reveals much about her character,” said her school guidance counselor, Emily Clark, who wrote a letter of recommendation for the DAR award.
“Marissa is an exceptional student. Our high school is very competitive, and she stands out among her peers,” Katie Overbeck, English Department International Baccalaureate Coordinator, wrote in a recommendation letter for the award. After graduating high school, Ryan plans to study marketing management or human resources. “Marissa will bring this maturity and confidence into her collegiate career,” Overbeck said.
Noblesville’s Horseshoe Prairie Chapter of DAR presents the Good Citizen Award each year to one graduating senior.
She is a good student, but being honored as a DAR Good Citizen is so much more than good grades.
It means you've given back to the community, to your school, to your church and to your family, and that you were voted on by your peers and by your administrators.
While Ryan’s biography runneth over with achievements, she is most proud of “being someone that others can rely on or look up to,” she said.
Ryan is also proud of her DAR Good Citizen Award and sees how important the award is to all of the women in the Horseshoe Prairie Chapter of the DAR. “It makes me feel that I am bigger than just a scholarship, that it’s not just supporting my college but I’m supporting my country.”
She said, “The fact that my essay won shows me what I’m thinking …and the different methods …. are important and are on the right track.”
Other contest finalists representing each of their participating high schools included: Ana Maria Gaston, Fishers; Price Allen Knowles, Hamilton Heights; Brianna Baker, Hamilton Southeastern; Brynna Faye Eaton, Noblesville; Nicholas James Roberts, Sheridan; Abigail Ruth McCain, Tipton; and Aiden S. Arnold, Tri-Central and Chloe Elisabeth Owens, Westfield (both of whom were unable to attend). Read more about each of the finalists in our Faces of Hamilton County feature in upcoming editions of The Times.
The DAR Good Citizen of the Year winner posed for photos with her parents who held a colonial flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in Ryan’s name on Dec. 2, a significant date in DAR history. It was Dec. 2, 1896, when DAR was granted its congressional charter; 2019 celebrated 123 years.
DAR, a 122-year-old organization, is for women who can document descent from a Revolutionary War Patriot. People can research their ancestry at For more information, visit
-Contact Betsy Reason at