High School Senior Attends Lincoln Forum Symposium

Shoreham-Wading River High School senior Shannon Bogaski attended the 2013 Lincoln Forum Symposium, held in Gettysburg, Pa., on Nov. 16-18. The 2013 theme, “Lincoln at Midstream: Gettysburg and Beyond,” is year four of a six-year focus on the Civil War sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) that began in 2010.

“Interacting with the people at the symposium was like interacting with a family,” said Shannon. “Everyone there is well-acquainted and so welcoming to newer members and visitors.”

Coupled with guidance and a letter of recommendation from social studies teacher and Lincoln Forum Board of Advisors member Ruth Squillace, Shannon’s essay was selected, granting her admission to her first Lincoln Forum symposium. Only two students nationwide are selected to receive this scholarship opportunity.

“I believe that I was selected because my essay accurately conveyed my genuine passion for our country and its history,” Shannon said. During her stay, Shannon visited the town of Gettysburg and its battlefields and was even given a tour of a local restaurant that once hosted members of the Underground Railroad. She also attended lectures delivered by renowned historians, authors and politicians.

Shannon, who aspires to be an attorney, found that her career path was well-supported by members of the Lincoln Forum, many of whom are involved in the field of law. Her most memorable encounter during the trip was with Frank Williams, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. Williams is also one of the country’s most renowned experts on Abraham Lincoln, having penned more than 14 books on the president. During their discussion, Williams, who served in the U.S. Army, commended Shannon on her desire to study military law and expressed his pride in her aspiration to better her country.

Shannon hopes to attend the symposium again in the near future as an official member of the Lincoln Forum. “The entire experience just made me that much more excited to have a career in military law,” she said. “I am very excited for the future.”

After graduating from Shoreham-Wading River, Shannon would like to participate in a ROTC program in college, advance to law school, and eventually have a successful career with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps.