June 14, 2014

Macdonough on a button

PLATTSBURGH — At first, Olivia Gottschall did not succeed in her designs for the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Poster Contest, but she tried, tried and tried again.

In the end, she selected the right one. The daughter of Rich and Michelle Gottschall of Plattsburgh, Olivia is this year’s winner of the contest with her portrait of Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough framed by the U.S. flag and the Macdonough Monument. 

Jameson Fiegel of Westport Central placed second, Mackenzie Converse of Morrisonville Elementary took third place, and Brenna Mulvaney of Beekmantown Elementary School placed fourth.


“It was an art project that we were doing in class kind of,” said Olivia, 10, who attends Momot Elementary.

“In art class, our art teacher, Miss G-C (Mary Gertsch-Cochran) said we were going to do the Battle of Plattsburgh competition.”

Olivia chose Macdonough because he was famous and leader of the naval forces that squared off on Plattsburgh Bay against Capt. George Downie of the British War Navy during the War of 1812.

“I actually used a portrait of him,” Olivia said. “I just tried to draw him as best I could. On the 100th-year anniversary, the monument was given to us by the government. 

“I thought that it’s not just the 200th-year anniversary of the Battle of Plattsburgh, but it is also 100th-year anniversary for the Macdonough Monument, so I thought I would add that because it’s also important. 

“The flag I just added because it’s part of the United States of America, and we live there.”


Olivia worked on her poster during art class, free time and at home, every day, until she completed it. At home was a little tricky because her sister, Eva, 4, likes to embellish her work.

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