Edison Middle School students advance to national competition for their history projects

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Multiple Edison Middle School students advanced to the national competition of the National History Day contest.

Gretchen Doyle, 6th grade honors social studies teacher at Edison Middle School, said National History Day is part of the curriculum for 6th and 8th grade students. Each year there is a theme, said Doyle, and this year the theme was “Communication in History.”

Edison Middle School has participated in National History Day for several years, Doyle said.

This project is completely student-driven, she said. The students decide if they would like to work as a group or alone, they decide their topic and the format in which they will present their project.

“They really get invested in their topic because it is coming from them and things that they are interested in,” Doyle said.

Students compete at a school, regional and state level before advancing to a national level, she said. Due to COVID-19, these competitions were virtual.

The learning aspect was the coolest part to see, she said.

“I am so proud of these kids,” Doyle said. “They have done so much work; it was just a joy to work with them, to see their excitement about their project.”

The research experience they gain throughout the process is phenomenal, she said. Students write a bibliography and write a thesis, which are things Doyle said she didn’t do until college. If they chose to work with a group, they are also gaining valuable teamwork skills.

“Just the knowledge and information that they are gaining by researching their project, as they were being interviewed, you can tell how much they have learned throughout their topic and what they have walked away with,” Doyle said.


Fair Housing Act of 1968

Marjorie Carazo Ruiz (back left), Katya Surendran (front left), Hannah Basel (back right) and Jacob Pagone (front right) chose to do their project on the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the miscommunications behind the bill.

This group placed first at the state competition and will be moving on to the national competition.


Rosie the Riveter

Vanessa Ung and Annika Kvale chose to do their project on Rosie the Riveter and how her meaning has changed since World War II.

Both the girls were interested in women’s history and World War II and decided that Rosie the Riveter encompassed both of those aspects, Kvale said.

The girls placed first at the regional competition and got second place at the state competition; they will next be competing in the national competition.


Compton Cafeteria riot

Jenna Cwach (front right), Ava Johnson (front left), Elizabeth Spencer (back right) and Kaylee Ford’s (back left) project was discussing the Compton Cafeteria riot, which combined their interests in trans-rights and riots.

At the regional level, the group placed second, but after revising their project, they were able to get first at the state level, allowing them to move on to the national competition.


Renaming of Black Elk Peak

Sarah Ulin chose to do her project individually, covering the local topic of the renaming of Black Elk Peak from Harney Peak.

Since she wanted to write a paper, she didn’t have the option to work with a group. Ulin chose her topic because of her interest in the reason behind the name change.

Ulin placed first at both the regional and state level and will be competing in the national competition.


Nim the chimpanzee

Sara Newitt, a 6th grader at Edison, chose to do her project on Nim the chimpanzee, who learned sign language in a human setting. Through this project, Newitt was able to incorporate her love of animals and the communication theme of the competition.

Newitt placed first at the state competition and will be moving on to nationals, where she said she is excited to see how all her hard work is placed.

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