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2002 Nationals, June 9-13, 2002

Badger Historians Report From National History Day
in Washington, D.C.

The Wisconsin delegation at the National History Day contest.
The Wisconsin delegation at the National History
Day contest. Click on image for larger version.

Keep track of our Badger Historians at the 2002 National History Day contest held on the University of Maryland - College Park campus. Each morning updates from students, teachers, and Wisconsin's State Coordinator will be posted from the previous day.

  • Sunday - Arrival and Opening Ceremony
  • Monday - Jr. Division Judging, Washington, D.C. Sightseeing, Time to "Boogie" (Student Dance)
  • Tuesday - Sr. Division Judging, Washington, D.C. Sightseeing, The Top 14 Face-Off (Jr. Division Documentary & Performance Finals)
  • Wednesday - The The Top 14 Face-Off (Sr. Division Documentary & Performance Finals), Wisconsin Delegation Meets Senator Feingold
  • Thursday - NHD Awards Ceremony - Watch it live at the NHD website.


Sunday, June 9, 2002

WORD From Kris - State Coordinator
By Train, Plane & Bus . . . everyone has arrived safe and sound in College Park, Maryland for NHD. And with the exception of a box of supplies for yours truly, no lost luggage. Humidity mixed with excitement at the Opening Ceremony held in the Nyumburu Outdoor Amphitheater. NHD Alumn- Dr. Douglas Wood, Executive Director of the Tennessee State Board of Education spoke. As a precursor to next year's 25th Anniversary of NHD, alumni were invited to come down front, hop on stage, and perform impromptu skits. Not to brag, but if these skits were judged, you can tell which group's was the funniest and most lively. Students also had a chance to set-up their exhibits. Most impressive! I'm glad I don't have to be a judge tomorrow.

A couple of days later, Peter and David are ready to present their documentary to the judges.
A couple of days later, Peter and
David are ready to present their
documentary to the judges.

David and Peter's Washington Adventures
Our La Crosse History Day contingent was up bright and early Saturday morning to catch a 6:00 am flight on Midwest Express Airlines - the all first class flight was comfortable and we enjoyed delicious pancakes and coffee. We arrived on campus quickly, but we had a long wait to check-in. The dorms certainly aren't the Ritz Hotel and the designers must have forgotten the air conditioning, but at least our group was together! At night we left campus for a fabulous illumination tour of the downtown Washington. Peter's favorite monument was the endless Vietnam Wall, while David loved the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial with its huge fountains and quote. As we pulled into campus at midnight, we were definitely exhausted.

This morning (Sunday) after contest registration, we left for another day of touring. Arlington Cemetery was awe-inspiring, the Holocaust Museum was amazing, and the Art Museum was fascinating. At night we enjoyed dinner at Union Station and saw a hilarious movie. Tonight we are making final preparations for judging and getting ready for another FULL day of touring.

(David Fiocco and Peter Ruud attend Central High School in La Crosse they completed a group documentary entitled "From Cabins to Castles: The Great American Motel")

Melissa and Sara show-off their cow-decorated dorm door.
Melissa and Sara show-off their
cow-decorated dorm door.

Melissa and Sara
To begin our morning we at breakfast at the Golden Corral. (Melissa and Sara were part of the group that traveled by bus to NHD. They left Wisconsin on Saturday and spent the night in West Virginia.) It was very nice to be able to eat somewhere besides McDonalds! The food was good. After we ate we went to Gettysburg for a bus tour and saw many memorials and monuments. It was really warm outside today, so we went downtown for ice cream. Then we were off to the University of Maryland in College Park. Despite the craziness, we were able to register set up exhibits, and have supper. We then found our competition sites and a little free time to decorate our rooms, talk, listen to music, nap, etc. What an exciting and busy day!!!

(Melissa Beck and Sara Waneless attend D.C. Everest High School in Schofield. Sara wrote a paper entitled "Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps: Despair to Deliverance." Whereas, Melissa completed a group exhibit "Sit-in for a Change: The Greensboro Sit-Ins Sparking a Revolution," with her brother Phil.)

Monday, June 10, 2002

5 Hours of Sleep Was Just Enough
I spent the bulk of today as one of the exhibit room monitors. With four full-time staff members, the national office relies on state coordinators to help with many contest duties. The Junior Division students met with the judges today and had their projects judged. Over 200 entries for both the Junior Individual and Group Exhibit categories were displayed in the Grand Ball Room. It was quite a handful ensuring students were allowed to enter the ballroom at their interview time, while also encouraging the judges to stay on schedule. A mad hunt for a walkie-talkie misplaced by another state coordinator capped off the room monitor duties. The Badger Pre-Dance Gathering was held in the second floor lounge. Sweets, splits and stylish steps pulled in the Wisconsin group. The day came to a close with the student dance. The funky chicken, polkas, and Joan Jett . . . what more can I say (Kris)

Reflecting Washington, D.C.'s warmth, Jackie and Amber are sun burnt, yet smiling.
Reflecting Washington, D.C.'s
warmth, Jackie and Amber
are sun burnt, yet smiling.

Out and About
Today the D.C. Everest Senior High students went to Annapolis. There we did lots of sightseeing. We saw many of the historical houses and Maryland's state house. We also went on a boat tour of the Chesapeake Bay and shopped. We all got very sun burnt!! But it was fun.

(Jackie Gierczak and Amber Esch completed a documentary project entitled "Revolution to Reaction: Iranian Hostage Crisis." Nikki Berry and Jenna Hazaert's exhibit focuses on Japanese Internment Camps.)

Greg finishes setting up his exhibit Monday morning.
Greg finishes setting up his exhibit
Monday morning.

Another Day in the City
Today we traveled to several places in D.C. We went to an amazing tourist site called the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Although it was very hot and humid, we are enjoying ourselves. The site are well worth the long walks. We also went on a relaxing paddleboat ride in the Tidal Basin. An idea that we are starting to pay consequences is not wearing sunscreen. Adams-Morgan was a great district where we ate at an outdoor Thai Café. The food was amazing. The Bureau of Engraving and Painting was very impressive, although it felt horrible to be so close to so much money. Finally, we went to a dance where we met many interesting people.

(Greg Dihlman-Malzer and Quinn Ruff attend Central High School in La Crosse. Quinn wrote a paper entitled "The Civil War: Through the Eye of the Camera. Greg's exhibit is "Through the Mountains and Over Rivers: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad.")

Max and Adam ready to present their exhibit, John Glenn: A Reaction to the Soviet Union.
Max and Adam ready to present their
exhibit, "John Glenn: A Reaction
to the Soviet Union."

It's All Fun
I have had a very fun time here at National History Day. Meeting new friends, seeing a new places, this is definitely a trip that I will remember for a long time. If I had to pick out one thing that I did here that was my favorite, I wouldn't be able to choose. The whole time here has been fun so far. Even presenting my (and Max's) project to the judges.

(Adam Shaw attends S.O.T.A. II Middle School in La Crosse. He completed an exhibit entitled "John Glenn: A Reaction to the Soviet Union" with Max Wollam-Fisher)

A successful button trader, Bailey adds another button to her sweatshirt.
A successful button trader,
Bailey adds another button
to her sweatshirt.

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons
I think the best thing about NHD is the button trading. Otherwise, I don't think anybody would talk to each other. The buttons are a great conversation starter, and a great way to meet other people from the other states. I got to meet a whole bunch of people that way. The first button that I traded was to North Dakota and that was before we even got to Washington, D.C. We met North Dakota, Kansas, and Michigan on the train ride up here. I'm still missing about 15 buttons, but I hope I can find them in the next two days.

Today we also went to see some of the other projects. The best one I saw today was probably an individual performance on the Chicago Blues that a boy from Illinois did. I also saw some amazing exhibits. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the senior projects tomorrow.

(Bailey Padesky's documentary was The Newsboys Strike of 1899: A Revolution in Child Labor Laws." She attends S.O.T.A. II Middle School in La Crosse.)

Max and History Day
Today was junior judging day. After breakfast we went to make final touch-ups on our exhibit before being kicked out and having to go change. After we came back we went to watch my friend's documentary. Then we went to over to our place where we were to be judged. Very soon after we got there we were called in. When we got to our project we noticed that some things had fallen off and frantically tried to get them back on before the judges go there. After they came over, they seemed to like our exhibit and didn't ask any hard questions. 1 hour after we were done came Eva's judging and that seemed to go well too. We messed around until 7:30 pm. When we had that pre-dance thing (where all we did was get candy, not a bad thing). Then we went to the dance. The dance was boring, there was nothing to do. We found a cell phone and called home. We were very tired, so we went to bed and slept very well.

(Max Wollam-Fisher attends S.O.T.A. II Middle School in La Crosse. He completed an exhibit entitled "John Glenn: A Reaction to the Soviet Union" with Adam Shaw)

Max and Dana prepare to board the Metro for a day of touring.
Max and Dana prepare to board the
Metro for a day of touring

A Teacher's Perspective
National History started for 3 La Crosse students from the School of Technology and Arts II (SOTA II) on the train to D.C. Our students met and exchanged buttons with groups from Western North Dakota and Kansas. They learned about rural ranching life in a place where there are still one room schools.

As a teacher it is greatly inspiring to see the work, the attitudes and behaviours of students from across the country. The performances documentaries and exhibits I saw on Monday showed in depth knowledge and enthusiasm for history topics. Students were confident, articulate, and prepared. It was wonderful to see students - not just know their topics, but who expressed themselves with passion about their history projects.

This work helps students develop a voice of involvement, compassion, and concern for the world they live in. I think it is not just that Washington, D.C. has the best of the best or that it is a competition. The skills these students gain and the growth they make are art of the whole process of doing History Day projects, from topic selection to research to presentation.

(Dana Fisher is a teacher at SOTA II Middle School in La Crosse, as well as Max's dad.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Wow!!
Today the senior division students met with the judges and defended their projects. At approximately 7:15 PM those entries in the senior division performance and documentary categories that made it to the finals round were posted. Wisconsin has two entries that will advance; Jessica Dabler and her individual documentary "The Anti-War Movement: A Reaction to the Vietnam War" and Peter Ruud and David Fiocco's group documentary "From Cabins to Castles: The Great American Motel." Wednesday morning these students and the other finalists (14 total entries per category) will show their documentaries to a new set of judges and national winners will be selected. (Kris, State Coordinator)

Jessica and her roommate Shanna Hansen, who completed a project entitled The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall, pose with their door of dancing cows.
Jessica and her roommate
Shanna Hansen, who completed
a project entitled "The Rise
and Fall of the Berlin Wall,"
pose with their door of
dancing cows.

Butterflies
Today was the senior division competition. The junior high kids went to Arlington Cemetery and Mount Vernon. Most of the senior high students experienced a good case of "butterflies," but the feeling was eased by having some of our fellow classmates come to our competitions. After all of the competing was complete all of D.C. Everest went on a night tour of D.C. We visited the FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam War Memorial, The Korean War Memorial, and Iwogema. All of the memorials looked spectacular at night. We found out on the tour that Jessica Dabler made it into the run-offs for her individual documentary and a group documentary from La Crosse made it as well. (Kris called our head chaperone on her cell phone when they posted the results.) It was an exciting, yet exhausting day.

(Jessica Dabler attends D.C. Everest High School and completed an individual documentary entitled "The Anti-War Movement: A Reaction to the Vietnam War")

Emily and Elise sit on the Capitol Steps.
Emily and Elise sit on the
Capitol Steps.

Beyond the Traditional
Today was a senior judging day so our group was split up. Our day was really fun though we didn't get to everything on our original plan. After checking out the shops of Crystal City, we spent an hour paddle boating in front of the Jefferson Memorial. We then proceeded to explore the mysteries of Chinatown, after which we journeyed to Georgetown where we met up with the rest of our group. (The Seniors were being judged.) Our evening concluded with shopping and delicious dinner at Zed's, an Ethiopian restaurant. The highlight of our evening was when we discovered that two of our group members made it to run-offs.

(Emily Fiocco and Elise Dihlman-Malzer attend Lincoln Middle School. Emily completed a paper entitled "Malcolm X: Transforming the Black Revolution." Elise's paper was the "Unitarian Universalist Activism in the American Civil Rights Movement.")

Touring In The Heat
Today, me and my dorm buddy woke up at 7:00 (We were really tired from the dance last night.) We went to breakfast then came back and got ready for touring. First we went to Arlington Cemetery. We looked at John F. Kennedy's grave and many other heroes. Then we watched the wreath changing ceremony. After the cemetery, we went to Mount Vernon and went through George Washington's house. Then we looked at George and Martha Washington's tomb. Our last adventure for today is touring various monuments. This was quite an experience, but it was too hot. (as in 105 degrees) I really want to sleep, but we are off again.

(Jackie Bieszk attends D.C. Everest Junior High School. She completed a group documentary entitled "A Teacher, An Agent, An Angel to Her State - The Life of Cordelia Harvey")

Today seemed like it lasted forever! It was hot, hot, hot!! With the heat index of 105 degrees, walking around in Arlington Cemetery and Mount Vernon was tiring. At Arlington Cemetery we missed the changing of the soldiers, but we did get to see the wreath changing ceremony. After that everyone was drenched with sweat. Good thing the bus was air-conditioned. Next stop, Mount Vernon. At Mount Vernon we toured the Mansion and walked around the grounds overall it was fun, but hot!!

(Jacqueline Daly attends D.C. Everest Junior High School and completed a group performance entitled "A Silent Education: A Revolution of the Wisconsin School for the Deaf")

Today we went to the Arlington Cemetery and walked in the hot sun. We also missed the changing of the guard, but it was all good, because we to JFK's grave. After this we ate on the bus because it was too hot. Eventually we got to Mount Vernon and walked around again in the hot sun. It took 40 minutes to go inside George Washington's house and then we looked around his yard for a while. We rode the bus back to the dorms and then most of everyone took a shower because we all smelled.

(Ashley Vokral did a group individual performance, "Janet Jennings: A Revolutionary in Nursing." She attends D.C. Everest Junior High School.)

Today the junior high kids went to tour Arlington National Cemetery and Mount Vernon. The entire day was incredibly hot!! We saw interesting things at Arlington, like John F. Kennedy's grave and a changing of the wreath ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier. At Mount Vernon, we saw George Washington's house, inside and out and also visited his grave. I saw all things I have never seen before, which was really a great experience, despite the high temperatures and sunny weather.

(Maureen Dedo is a student at D.C. Everest Junior High School. Her individual performance was "Reacting to Segregation: The Story of Rosa Parks.")

Check back tomorrow to find out about the Top 14 Face-Off and the Wisconsin Delegation meeting Senator Feingold!

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Emily and Kelly stop for a photo before the Awards Ceremony.
Emily and Kelly stop for a photo
before the Awards Ceremony.

National History Day has definitely been an adventure. We started our vacation by going on the illumination tour of the monuments. We were able to see the Capital, White House, and many others, including my personal favorite the Vietnam Memorial. We also learned a lot at Arlington National Cemetery and several of the Smithsonian Museums. Before we go, we hope to go to Union Station and to meet our Congressmen. I would say that the most unique thing that we have done is going to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was a beautiful church that I think everyone should try and see. Competing was a lot of fun as well. We know we didn't win, but we still feel satisfied knowing we did our best.

(Emily Brandau attends Central High School in La Crosse. She completed a group performance with Kelly Arneson entitled "Walt Disney: A Revolution in Animation and Imagination." The entry above was a summary of the week events up until Wednesday.)

Jessica, Peter, and David presented their documentaries once again in the finalists round. Afterwards the Wisconsin delegation made a mad dash to the U.S. Capitol to meet with Senator Feingold. We received a tour of the Senate and were able to see a vote take place. Tomorrow the winners are announced at the awards ceremony.
Kris - State Coordinator

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