Marshall County High School's Junior Historical Society sponsored by Kelly Weaver sent four entries to National History Day competition at the University of Maryland in College Park earlier this month. Student competitors earned berths at the event by qualifying first at the regional and then at the state level. During national competition, each category had about 100 participants, Weaver said via email. Students involved were:
Partners Jackson Boone and Anastasia Shaverina who collaborated on an exhibit depicting the Romanov Dynasty in Russia. Boone will be a sophomore and Shaverina a senior this fall. The Romanovs were an ideal topic for their theme "Triumph and Tragedy," and because Shaverina and her family immigrated to the United States from Russia a few years ago, Boone said. The Romanovs came to power in Russia in 1613 when Mikhail Romanov became Czar. The dynasty ruled through the massacre of Czar Nicholas II and his family in July 1918 following the Bolshevik Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin in 1917.
Abigail Stanger, a senior and her partner, Conor Washburn, created an exhibit on American political icon of the World War II era, Cordell Hull. Stanger made the presentation at both the state and National History Day competitions because Washburn had scheduling conflicts. Hull, a Tennessee native, is best known as the longest serving U.S. Secretary of State. He was appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and served through 1944. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 for his role in establishing the United Nations.
Besides their Cordell Hull presentation, Stanger and Washburn were considered for the Best History of the Federal Government Prize and the World War II History Prize, and Stanger was nominated for the Legacy Prize.
Three students who graduated last month, Claire Harmon, Cameron Armstrong and Katie Hurst, created a group website on winning World War II and Colby Edwards, an incoming senior, created an individual website on "Muckraking Journalism" of the 1920s. The term "muckraking" was used in that progressive era to describe reform-minded American journalists who exposed institutions and political leaders alleged to be corrupt. Today, they are known as investigative reporters or watchdog journalists.
National History Day is a non-profit education organization based in College Park, Maryland, and the National History Day Contest is its largest program, which encourages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice. The National Endowment for the Humanities is its major sponsor, Weaver said. Besides Weaver, Stanger's parents, Mike and Pam Stanger accompanied the students on their trip.
Though none of the local students placed at the national level, the competition at all levels and the trip itself provided priceless educational adventures not only at the university but also in the nation's capital city, Washington, D.C. and environs. Todd Inman, a Calvert City native and chief of staff to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chow, hosted the Marshall students on a tour of the U.S. Department of Transportation. "It was kind of like a VIP tour," Boone said. "That was by far my favorite part of the trip, and everyone else seemed to really enjoy it as well.
Also, Inman's father, James Inman, gave the students a phone number for First District U.S. Rep. James Comer. "Then we were able to contact Congressman Comer and get a Capitol tour scheduled," Boone said. "That was a lot of fun, and we also went on an FBI tour, and that was a really neat experience." He credited Marshall County District Judge Jack Telle and Coroner Michael Gordon with arranging the FBI tour. The group also went to the Pentagon 911 Memorial, which Boone also described as "very neat to see."
Todd Inman had also arranged for the group to tour the White House. "But about a week before the trip, I got an email saying they had to cancel the tour because of the president's schedule," Boone said. "They asked if we could reschedule the tour, but all the times they had were when we were competing."