History Day participants find success at state contest
Sophomore heading to national contest
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 3:36 AM
Alli Hanson was one of 15 Chatfield High School students to participate in the state History Day contest on Saturday, May 3. Hanson's project on the passage of the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts of 1906 has earned her first-place honors at the state contest and a future trip to the National History Day Competition in College Park, Md., at the University of Maryland next month.
Chatfield High School History Day participants who did very well at the state History Day competition on May 3 include Alli Hanson, Demery Little, Liz Hisey and Levi Roline.
"It's about the food supply, and since I am interested in food and food regulations, the Pure Food and Drug Act interested me because it's about safer food, and it brought nutrition labels and ingredient labels to foods," said Hanson, a sophomore at Chatfield High School.
Her senior high individual exhibit was selected from approximately 70 projects as the winner at the Minnesota History Day competition, meaning she will represent Chatfield and Minnesota at the National History Day Competition.
Chatfield High School history instructor and History Day coach Tom Hilgren explained this is the 20th year Chatfield has participated in the state contest.
"History Day is a regional, state and national competition which requires students to conduct historical research on a theme in history," he explained. "Students compete in junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) divisions, as well as in categories of exhibits, media/documentaries, papers, websites and performance."
Hanson stated she felt confident enough in presenting her project to the judges at the regional and state competition, but she hadn't any way of knowing she'd be chosen as one of the state's National History Day delegates.
"I was just hoping to make it into finals, and I found out that I was in the primaries. I knew that I was in the top eight then, and after that, I didn't know where I was going to place," she said. "After I presented it to the judges, I found out I was in the finals four hours later, and it took another hour to hour-and-a-half before I found out I was going to nationals."
Hanson said her favorite part of going to state was knowing she worked hard and that her project was good enough to make it to state.
"I really liked meeting new people from around Minnesota and bonding with other people who are interested in Minnesota history," she added. "I'm excited that I placed. Now, this is a national competition, so I'm up against two of the best people from every state."
Hanson will depart June 14 and return June 20, with the competition in her category set for June 17. She anticipates returning to Washington, D.C., to see the sights she got to see as an eighth grader on the junior high class trip.
"I get to visit D.C. again. When we went to D.C. when I was in eighth grade, I loved it, and I get to go back and revisit that history," she said. "My favorite monument we saw was the Lincoln Memorial, and I also liked visiting the Vietnam Wall."
Even though her project earned her a trip to the national History Day competition, she's not done making changes to it, as it has evolved since she first presented it at the regional competition in March and requires more preparation in order to impress the national judges.
"I completely re-did the entire project," she explained. "There are many, many hours in it. I was in here for four hours looking for one thing one day, and I could not find it, so I stayed until I ended up finding it. I think it now shows more analysis and ties better to other events in history so that other people can see how this leads to the laws we have today."
She concluded, "It's a lot of work to make it to the nationals, and if you put in the time, you'll end up being rewarded. I like history in the first place. I don't know if I like researching a lot, but I like knowing about different events in history and how they have connections to other events, how they have connections from history to today."
According to Hilgren, 14 other students in grades six through 12 earned recognition at the state History Day competition.
Seven made it into the final round, including sophomores Demery Little and Liz Hisey, who finished in third place with their senior group documentary on Alice Paul and the militant strategies used to gain the right to vote for women. Sixth grader Devann Harris earned fourth place in the junior individual documentary category on the project on the Minnesota evolution debates of the 1920s. Also making it to the final round were senior individual documentary participant Levi Roline, senior individual exhibitor Kadin Hill and sixth grade junior group performance participants Ann Warren and Jett Tuohy, who received honorable mention for being state finalists.
Roline won a topical prize for best senior high project focused on the Minnesota courts, while sixth grade junior exhibitors Isaac Rain and Brady Woltz won a topical prize for best labor history project in the junior division.
Senior group exhibitor sophomores Kayla Mabe and Katie Meeker, freshman senior individual performance entrant Blair Crouch, seventh grader Larissa Martin and sixth grade junior individual documentary entrant Logan Johnson all competed at the state contest.
Hilgren thanked the Chatfield community for its ongoing dedication to the education of its students.
"The success of the History Day program in Chatfield is largely a result of the support provided it by a number of individuals and organizations. This past year, a number of local organizations, individuals and businesses contributed financially or through grants allowing the program to meet equipment, material and travel needs," he said. "Parental support was, as always, an encouragement to students and advisor alike. Finally, the tremendous effort and endless hours put in by the students themselves is indicative of their commitment to academic excellence."