Students display works at history competition
After three month’s work, 130 Treasure Mountain eighth-grade history students displayed their exhibits based on the theme, "Triumph and Tragedy."
The project was also a national history competition between schools, held by the organization "National History Day," named after a history competition in 1974. (NHD) sponsors events and contests throughout the country, supported by donations. Winners of Thursday night’s event will move on to regional, maybe state, and the winners have their projects displayed in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Students could either work in groups or do their own projects. In Thursday’s competition, five individual and five group winners would be chosen.
Students were judged on originality, layout, use of "Triumph and Tragedy," and on their knowledge of the subject matter. Judges were encouraged to ask difficult, technical questions to test the student’s knowledge, said Kevin McIntosh, history teacher of all the students involved, and organizer of the event.
"This brings history alive, teaches research skills, and it’s fun," McIntosh said, adding, "We need to be aware of the past. We have to learn from our past mistakes. No doubt that history repeats itself," he said.
Students started out with three-panel backboards used to display everything imaginable including pictures, clothing, and actual vials of oil collected from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Some of the student exhibits included "Pearl Harbor," "The San Francisco Fire and Earthquake," "Las Vegas," "Columbine," and "911."
Michael Gallagher stood, dressed as a baseball player, next to his exhibit of Lou Gehrig. The triumph? "Lou Gehrig was a great baseball player," Gallagher said. The tragedy, he said was Gehrig’s dying at a young age. "I loved the research and I loved the topic." Gallagher said his father grew up in the Bronx watching Yankee games.
At least as many parents and family members showed up as students, filling the school cafeteria.
Melissa Burman and Chloe Lee talked about their Beatles exhibit, which they worked on with three other students. "We had to make five trips to Wal-Mart for materials," Burman said.
Their three-panel display board got run over by a car, Lee said. She showed one of the music scores displayed on the board that had a tire-tread imprint on it.
"I love the Beatles’ music," Berman said. She was amazed they could come up with something as creative as lyrics like "an octopus’ garden."
Student Sammy Davis did her exhibit on Las Vegas, but said her name had nothing to do with her choice of the gambling town.
Lauren McNeely, who presented "Pearl Harbor," answered questions from one of the judges with technical, detailed answers.
The winners of the single and group competition will be announced sometime next week, McIntosh said.
But now that for most this project has been completed, new challenges await them down the road, as McIntosh said they will begin a Constitution project in the spring.
"I thank you guys for working so hard, McIntosh said to the students. "You guys are awesome."
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