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National History Day 2005 Finals

Tuesday, June 14

Senior Presentations

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“Rosie the Riveter,” an exhibit by Jessica Sielaff of Mount Horeb, on display in the exhibit hall.
Students in the senior division took their turn presenting to judges today, while juniors took advantage of the opportunity to do some serious touring in Washington D.C. Although we were disappointed not to see any of our state's performances or documentaries go on to the final round, the delegation is abuzz with plans for tomorrow's free day. With sightseeing time running short, the Wisconsin dorm lounge has become a mecca for travel tales and tips. Students, teachers, and families alike are having an incredible time!

Emily Prehn, Mary Quandt, and Jessica Sielaff, Mount Horeb

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Emily and Mary set up their exhibit, “I Love Lucy,” in the Grand Ballroom.
Hey everyone- this is Jessica Sielaff, Mary Quandt, and Emily Prehn! We did a lot of cool things today: first we all went and saw Janet’s Yearous’ performance about the Underground Railroad, and, after lunch, our own projects were judged.

Jessica: My project is on Rosie the Riveter. I got judged today in the ballroom. I loved doing this project and meeting all of the new people. I stayed in a dorm room with the best person ever, Janet Yearous! She is the coolest person ever. I am so glad that I got a great roomate. I also loved being on campus throughout this whole experience. I am having a great trip here touring D.C. and I have learned a lot about myself and about other people. I am very happy on how this whole experience has turned out!

Emily and Mary: We did a group exhibit on I Love Lucy (if you see any pictures, it’s the big pink TV). We were judged this afternoon in the grand ballroom- which is gorgeous! We are having a fantastic time here in D. C. and on the beautiful U of MD campus. However, it is HOT. We are really enjoying the tourist side of this experience and also the NHD side.

Today, after judging, we all went on a tour of the United States Capitol, met Senator Feingold, and saw and ate at Union Station. The capitol was spectacular- even more than we expected!! Our tour guide, an intern named Ted, was both hilarious and knowledgeable and helped make our tour of our beautiful capitol wonderful!

We want to thank all our past judges and our teachers- Mt. Horeb High School History teacher, Mrs. Maglio, and English teacher, Ms. Lubich- for all their time, support, and help. Thanks to their constructive criticism, we were able to make our exhibits the best they could possible be. Also, thanks to Emma and Sarah, who made this experience possible. THANK YOU!!!

We’re having tons of fun but we miss Wisconsin!!

Fear the turtle!!



Jamie Lubich, Teacher from Mount Horeb

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The Mount Horeb and Lancaster crew pay homage to Fightin’ Bob Lafollette on his 150th bithday. Photo: Jamie Lubich
Hello, this is Jaime Lubich – teacher of Emily, Jessica, and Mary. National History Day has been a fabulous experience so far and I’m so proud of the girls for getting us here. Today was the big judging day for them and I’m sure they are relieved to be done. As they wrote, the capitol tour was outstanding. Meeting Senator Feingold was an unexpected bonus. His intern, our tour guide, led us to the statue of Fighting Bob LaFollette and told us that today was his 150th anniversary. We were sang a quick verse of Happy Birthday and gathered ‘round for a group picture. Thanks to Jack and JoAnn Prehn for pulling the appropriate strings and getting us in for the tour.

I would also like to thank the Wisconsin Historical Society and everyone else who makes NHD in Wisconsin possible. Participating in this program all year has re-energized my teaching and enthusiasm for working with young people. If any teachers reading this are on the fence about introducing the NHD project to their students, I strongly encourage them to take the plunge. You will be amazed at what your students learn and the work they will produce.

Go Team Wisconsin!



Jessica Ramel, Random Lake

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Jim DeBroux and students, Jessica, Drew, and Katrina, after an excellent performance.
It’s amazing what can happen when you do your homework and do it well. A free trip to our nation’s capital and an experience I’ll never forget. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has provided so much for the students. It’s amazing what all goes on here. I really appreciate everything that Emma and Sarah have done. D.C. is a great place. Riding the metro is a really cool experience, it makes life a whole lot easier and getting around is really easy. My favorite Smithsonian was the Natural Science, because it had an exhibit on diamonds, gems, and huge crystal and rock forms that were really cool. Going to Arlington Cemetery was intense and even though we didn’t tour the whole place just seeing the markers and JFK’s memorial showed me the love that our country has for our fallen soldiers. But site seeing isn’t everything, you do have to present your project. Getting to go to Nationals was the payoff for all our hard work. To think we started this project and only hoping to get an A back in November. We have come a long way, and thanks Mr. DeBroux for proofreading our process paper BEFORE the competition and helping put the finishing touches on our paper at the University’s library. I know they say that if you leave a gift for the turtle you’re suppose to receive good luck. Perhaps we should have put down a quarter instead of a penny then, we would have made it to runoffs. Oh well, we gave it our best performance of the year and I liked to thank to my group members Katy and Drew for putting up with me and putting together one awesome performance. I hope we’ll be able to come back next year and get to do this again, the pool is a really great way to cool down, and thank you Katy and Mr. DeBroux for teaching me how to swim. I can’t believe this trip is almost over and I’ll have to go back home and work. Next year I hope we’ll get window seats and get the chocolate chip cookies first on the plane ride. Thanks for all the new card games Mr. D.

Ana Maria Vascan, Eagle River

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Ana’s family and teachers congratulate her after she showed her documentary to the judges.
Uhm… Hello! It’s Ana Maria from little bitty Buzzard Crick (aka: scenic Eagle River, where the deer outnumber the human population about 14:3) and I’m here at this glorious 25th Anniversary National History Day Competition/Convention because of a senior, individual documentary entitled “And It Spread Like Wildfire: The Romanian Revolution”. For the past three days or so, my mother, my sister, and I have been staying in the sweltering, moist environment of the University of Maryland dormitories. Mr. Alan Tulppo and Mrs. Desirae Nault, two teachers from the Northland Pines District have been accompanying me too. In between worrying about the competition (first round of which, for Senior Documentaries and Performances, was today…) and complaining of sunstroke, I’ve gotten to see quite a bit of the surrounding area. Using the Metro system (buy that week-long pass. You’ll want it, trust me!), our happy little aforementioned group (and at times my new Lancaster friend, Janet) has gone to see some famed monuments and some nice federal buildings.

On the first day we got here (which was Saturday, June 14, 2005), after landing at BWI (around noon) and hopping a train in the wrong direction, we finally found our way to campus and got settled in a bit. After that, we popped onto another Metro train and went to the Washington Monument (where, I must say, I shot a post-card worthy photograph) and the World War II Memorial. When we arrived at the memorial, there was a concert was in progress. What a pleasant surprise!

Yesterday, we went to tour the Capitol building, through a forestalled tour through Senator Feingold’s office. The architecture is really lovely, but perhaps more interesting were the muralled walls, ceilings and walls and the scores and scores (literally) of statues, most famous of which is that of a Hawaiian king. We saw “Fighting Bob” chiseled in marble, stood on the spot where Reagan’s coffin had once been laid out, gazed at the spot from where John Quincy Adams feigned sleep to gain the upper edge in Congress, and looked out upon the West Lawn, where every four years, a United States President is sworn into Office. The tour was a touch too short for my taste, but I learned quite a bit. (Our White House tour is set for tomorrow…)

As I wrote earlier, today was competition day for NHD Seniors. After I was interviewed, I stuck around to watch documentaries from other states, some of which were really, really interesting. In heels, walking across the campus with a temperature at around 90° F and a 78% humidity level, you quickly learn to appreciate the little things: a friendly face, a small breeze, a sense of direction, and a little song in your head. The shuttle busses are free and a really good resource. All of the drivers are helpful and friendly, even if it’s really late at night.

One of the best things about national competition is, of course, the wonderful competitors/friends you meet through the course of the week. I’ve made friends from several states: Nebraska, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, and the Dakotas. The best time to meet people, is when they’re registering, eating, or lugging baggage. Pin/button trading is also a really big deal here. I’ve got about 30 pins so far, but I’m looking to get at least 45. It’s a great way to start up a conversation with random people and to make fast friendships (except when your state button already adorns their keystrings… maybe they go for doubles!) which can bring several different people together.

I’m not quite sure what the rest of this week will hold for me, but if these past few days have been any indication, I’m in for another happy roller coaster. Cheers from UM!



Kate Van de Loo, Eau Claire

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Kate Van de Loo created a junior individual performance about Sarah Emma Edmonds.
I am Kate Van de Loo from Eau Claire. I have had an excellent experience with NHD. My junior individual performance is titled “Sarah Emma Edmonds: Civil War Heroine.” Sarah was a Canadian woman who enlisted in the Union Army as a field nurse, Franklin Thompson. When additional spies were needed, Franklin Thompson, alias Sarah Emma Edmonds, although it was not known at the time, volunteered to spy and was accepted.

My performance reveals some of the spy characters of Sarah Emma Edmonds.
I began my research in late January. I definitely wanted to create a performance. I am home schooled and I could not find a partner to perform with so I decided to perform as an individual. I decided to research Sarah Emma Edmonds. After performing at the Eau Claire regional, I advanced to State. At State I was excited to perform in the final round and make Nationals! This my brother, Mark, accomplished last year, but I never expected to accomplish myself.

My favorite trail that I followed in my research began before regionals when I emailed Katie Cavanaugh from the Michigan Women’s Historical Society and Hall of Fame. She provided me with the photo credit from their web site. She also mentioned the name and phone number of Marie Papciak, a Lansing, MI woman who performs Sarah Emma Edmonds reenactments. I called Marie Papciak and she gave me the name of a book, They Fought Like Demons. I noticed on the book jacket of They Fought Like Demons that one of the authors, DeAnne Blanton, is currently an archivist at the National Archives. After searching the National Archives web site, I discovered DeAnne Blanton’s phone number. I called DeAnne Blanton to discuss primary resources. She informed me that the only sources to her knowledge that I did not have were the Enlisted Branch File and Military Service Record of Franklin Thompson, alias S. E. E. Seelye (the married name of Sarah Emma Edmonds). She copied these and mailed them to me. It was incredible to observe handwritten records from the 1800’s.

I look forward to creating another performance next year.



Lydia Richardson, La Crosse

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Lydia portraying one of several characters in her junior individual performance.
Hey this is Lydia Richardson. History Day has been an amazing experience for me. I did an individual performance and I encourage all of you future participants to at least try this category. It is so much fun! You get to pull historical facts and your personality into one amazing show! My topic was the Pony Express; the fact that it was a common topic didn’t hit me until I actually got to Regional Competition. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and such an enriching experience. I encourage everyone to at least try History Day, and you’ll find that many other people have the same interests as you do.

GO BADGERS!



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Bart Vanderpuy waits for the judges' signal to start his documentary.


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Julia and Janet “moo” for the camera as they relax in the Team Wisconsin lounge.


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