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National History Day 2005 Finals

Sunday, June 12

NHD Kicks Off in College Park

Weíve made ourselves feel right at home here in Maryland Ė Wisconsin cheese!
Team Wisconsin has arrived at the University of Maryland Ė College Park campus and is ready for a busy week at the National History Day contest! Our students have jumped right in with a flurry of tours in Washington D.C., welcome activities, and button trades. (NHD students furiously exchange buttons in hopes of collecting one from every state.)

Emma and Sarah
Team Wisconsin Coordinators

Sara Stemper, Ashwaubenon

Sara and her mom, Michelle, survey the button frenzy after the Opening Ceremony!
I must admit, everything I heard about National History Day, prior to making my first adventure here, is completely true. Emma and Sarah warned me that the weather in Maryland would be hot, but I guess I didnít know what I was in for. My mom and I amazingly managed to make it to the airport, and were completely exhausted when we finally made it to the campus. However, we were even more exhausted when we carried our luggage up and down stairs trying to find the registration. I was excited when we eventually made it to our dorm room, but was miserable to find out it was so HOT in there. First plan: open the window, and turn on our fans!!! I have to admit though, after 7 hours with the windows open, and the fans going, itís still terribly HOT! So, I guess that explains why I will be spending a lot of spare time in the air conditioned lounge. On a happier note, Marylandís beautiful. My exhibit is all set up, and I had a great time meeting new people, and of coarse trading buttons! I donít have to present until Tuesday, so I have a full day to explore tomorrow. My mom and I still havenít tried traveling on the metro, but everyone sayís itís easy. Tomorrow my mom and I plan on going into Washington D.C, which should be a lot of fun. Overall, itís been a fun, but exhausting first day!

Bart Vanderpuy, Rhinelander

Bart and his mom, Nan, at the Team Wisconsin meeting.
I have no idea how Iím going to get all 50 of the NHD buttons. Currently I have maybe 8. Itís particularly frustrating when I see kids with ties, bags and shirts filled with buttons. They make me want to run up to them and rip off all the buttons claiming, ďMom look! I found a gold mine!Ē But of course that would be rude and ďunacceptableĒ of a up and coming NHD rep. So I am content to stare and dream of the day I will have all fifty.

Janet Yearous, Lancaster

Janet, from Lancaster, and the Vascans, from Land OíLakes, await their flight to Maryland at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.
From the flight to the food, this trip has been an exhilarating rush of my sunburned senses (from touring, of course!) Although this is my third consecutive trip to Nationals, every year it gets better! The flight was quick and wonderful, thanks to Emma and Sarah for hooking me up!! By the way, they are the BEST coordinators!! They simply rock, and thatís all there is to say about that. Well then, about today. After awaking from a somewhat sweltering room, (like, 250 degrees Fahrenheit, no joke either!!!) I ate some morning nourishment and then rode the metro. (By the way, if you are reading this for tips on planning your NHD trip, the metro is definitely the way to go!) We viewed the magnificent monuments and all that jazz. Funny story for you; my performance is about the Underground Railroad, and I have this 1850ís style dress. It was a little wrinkled after flying, so I put it in the closet, except that I forgot hangers, so I throw it over the bar across the top. While I was gone, my roommate moved in, and at first glance it looked like someone was draped over the railing in the closet! For a moment she was extremely worried, but then she realized what it was and calmed down a bit. It was quite funny to see her face when she told me about it later. Anyway, thatís about all, so Iíll say good night!

Elizabeth Butler and Megan Smith, Holmen

Cassie, Megan, and Elizabeth from Holmen, demonstrate the fine art of button trading.
Weíve been working on our performance tonight trying to make it perfect, but find we arenít very successful in that. Iím sure it will end up fine in the end, but we are still all excited to be done performing. (Elizabeth) We are all kind of nervous so the tension level is high and of course there are a few ďarguments.Ē We usually do better when we are nervous anyway. So I am very tried right now because I stayed up till 2:00 last night. Weíre just a tad bit on the tired side. I really want to eat a piece of pizza but I donít feel like getting up and getting one. K well Bye! (Megan)

P.S. It is very very super duper hotttt in Maryland and our dorms. Our dorms are very hot and I feel sticky whenever I go in there. Sooo a big big tip for next years wonderfully lucky History Day goers; bring a HUGE FAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wisconsin teachers Jaime Lubich and Sharon Walker-Johnson applaud the beginning of the opening ceremony, where contest attendees were welcomed by the NHD staff.

Andrew Aleckson, an intern at the national office (and proud Wisconsin NHD alumnus!), gets the crowd going before the ceremony.

The Manitowoc NHD contingent, including finalists Dave Perkins and Greg Buechner, and finalist Kelliann Blazek from Bangor.

Our youngest Badger, Jack Cavanaugh, charmed his way through many a button trade.

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