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History comes alive

February 28, 2011
By STACEY KUKKONEN, skukkonen@mininggazette.com

HOUGHTON - History came alive Saturday as students from Houghton Middle School, Hancock High School, Jeffers High School, Dollar Bay High School, Chassell High School and Lake Linden-Hubbell High School participated in History Day.

Held at the Memorial Union Building at Michigan Technological University, 89 students in grades six through 12 participated in National History Day, District 1, which is comprised of 12 counties in the western and central U.P.

Erica LeClaire, of Dollar Bay High School, and her exhibit, "How far is too far? Josef Mengele's debatable experimentation on the twins of Auschwitz," was just one of the many students who put together an exhibit keeping the theme, "Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences," in mind.

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Erica LeClaire of Dollar Bay High School stands next to her exhibit, “How far is too far? Josef Mengele’s debatable experimentation on the twins of Auschwitz,” at History Day at the Memorial Union Building in Houghton Saturday.

"My project is about a doctor at Auschwitz who did experiments mostly on the twins," she said. "He believed that if they were able to perfect the Aryan race in twins, they would be able to spread it more rapidly and have it become the superior race."

Saturday, LeClaire fielded questions from eventgoers who stopped by her exhibit.

"I was always interested in history," she said.

Fact Box

Junior Division, Individual Documentary:

Sam Wallace, Houghton Middle School, "Animal Testing: Cruelty, crisis and compromise."

Junior Division, Individual Exhibit:

Meagan Kangas, Dollar Bay High School, "Did John F. Kennedy's Signing of the Equal Pay Act Help Men and Women's Income?"

Junior Division, Group Exhibit:

Haley Makela, Amanda Mattila, Paris Puuri, Jeffers High School, "The Cuban Missile Crisis: The brink of a nuclear war"

Senior Division, Research Paper:

Marcel Mongeau, Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, "The Toledo War"

Senior Division, Group Performance:

Kirsten Berg, Kelsey Bekkala, Katelyn Anderson, Hancock High School, "The Diary of Fashion"

Senior Division, Group Documentary:

Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter, Dinah Bekkala, Hancock High School, "The Copper Strike of 1913: Mining the struggles of the industrial era"

Rebecca Yeshe, Natalie Larson, Nyomie Olson, Abigail Carr, Chassell High School, "The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Leading to the end of slavery"

Senior Division, Individual Documentary:

Mariah Hallstrom, Hancock High School, "Detroit Burning: The 12th St. Riot"

Senior Division, Individual Exhibit:

Cassie Simula, Hancock High School, "The Boundary Question: A simple debate that caused the Toledo War"

Leilani Johnson, Chassell High School, "Anna Howard Shaw: One woman's impact on women's rights"

Erica LeClaire, Dollar Bay High School, "How far is too far? Josef Mengele's debatable experimentation on the twins of Auschwitz"

Senior Division, Group Exhibit:

Macy Holombo, Sara Kilpela, Ayla LaRoe, Chassell High School, "The Six-Day War: The war that could have put Israel and the Arab states at peace"

Cameron McKenzie, Jacob Wells, Joel Maki, Hancock High School, "The Rush-Bagot Agreement: The peacekeeper of the Great Lakes"

Braden Peterson, Brandon Joyal, Brian Kass, Hancock High School, "The Cuban Missile Crisis: At the brink of world's end"

Senior Division, Group Website:

Jacy Goddard, Juliana Hupp, Chassell High School, "Kill the Indian, Save the Man"

Jamie Dompier, Kaitlyn Hietala, Ashley Laux, Chassell High School, "Suffragettes leading the debate over the ratification of the 19th Amendment"

Senior Division, Individual Website:

Aaron Posega, Hancock High School, "The Formation of the United Nations: Diplomacy around the world"

Brooke Corrigan, Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, "The My Lai Massacre"

Local History Award:

Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter, Dinah Bekkala, Hancock High School, Sr. Division Group Documentary on: "The Copper Strike of 1913: Mining the struggles of the industrial era"

There were 40 entries total, with 18 of them moving on to the state competition. Only three entries in each category can move forward.

Larry Wagenaar, executive director of the Historical Society of Michigan, was in town to be a part of History Day.

"One of the great things for me is the excitement from the students, and being pumped up for history," he said. "They really are the experts for the day."

The judges' roles are to ask good questions, he said, while the kids showcase all they have learned while working with these projects.

Students participate in different categories, including research paper (individual only), exhibit (group or individual), documentary (group or individual), website (group or individual) and performance (group or individual).

As the theme changes every year, entries are judged on historical quality, clarity of presentation, use of primary sources, balance of research and how well the entry fits the theme. And while exhibits are more popular year to year, this year the website category reigned supreme.

History Day has three age divisions including youth (fourth and fifth grade), junior (sixth through eighth grade) and senior (ninth through 12th grade).

"We have just the junior and senior divisions here," Wagenaar said.

Sam Wallace, in the sixth grade, was the youngest participant.

"I did a documentary on animal testing," he said. "I interviewed my grandma a bit and I researched mostly online."

Wallace said his grandmother used to work for an organization that was against animal testing.

The state competition will be held April 30 at Grand Valley State University in downstate Allendale and that competition is overseen by the Historical Society of Michigan.

Entries from that competition will compete at National History Day at the University of Maryland June 12 to 16. That competition is overseen by the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Maryland.

District 1 has regularly sent entries all the way to Nationals.

Thirty-nine judges who helped with History Day represented the Michigan Tech Department of Social Sciences, the Michigan Tech Department of Humanities, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association, the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, Michigan Tech Van Pelt & Opie Library, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Isle Royale National Park, Cranking Graphics, the Houghton County Historical Society and many more unaffiliated judges who just wanted to take part.

The District 1 competition is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Department of Social Sciences, the Michigan Tech University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Historical Society of Michigan.

 
 

 

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