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National History Day 2005 Finals

Wednesday, June 15

A Capitol Day!

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Congressman Petri displays his new Wisconsin History Day T-shirt, presented to him by Greg Buechner and Dave Perkins of Manitowoc and Jar Xiong of Sheboygan.
In addition to sight-seeing, Team Wisconsin has dropped in on many of our representatives in Congress this week. Senators Kohl and Feingold and Representatives Obey and Petri all met Wisconsin History Day students. They were as impressed with our students' accomplishments as we are! As the competition winds down, our group squeezes in a few last sights, exchanges email addresses to keep in touch after the competition, and (naturally) inflates a few cows for the state pride parade at tomorrow's awards ceremony. It's been a fantastic week, and it's hard to believe there's only one day left!

Jar Xiong, Sheboygan

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Jar created a junior individual exhibit entitled “Explaining Hmong History Through Story Cloth.”

Being in the college of Maryland has been fun so far. My judging was Monday. I thought I did pretty good. The judges were really nice. I saw a lot of good exhibits. The senior exhibits were awesome! It was really hot so my mom and I spent more of our time in the Stamp Union.

Tuesday, Mr. Thorpe, Mrs. Thorpe, my mom, and I toured the capitol. We had to do a lot of walking at it was very hot. After the Holocaust tour my mom and I decided to go to Chinatown. It wasn’t much a town besides the Chinese restaurants. Now, I am back at Hagerstown in the lobby to cool off. Wednesday we are planning to go visit the senator and tour around a bit more. I miss Wisconsin so much.



Jim DeBroux, Teacher from Random Lake

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Jessica, Katrina, and Drew, students from Random Lake, present Senator Kohl with a National History Day in Wisconsin t-shirt.
It seems a little odd to say it, but I guess I am a History Day Nationals Veteran. I can tell because I packed less and somehow smarter. I found a way to get a fan for my room without paying postage. I figured out how to not be TOO excited before my students’ performance lest I make them more nervous. I found Testudo the Terrapin on my way to the library to help my students revise their process paper at the library. I found a place to check Brewers box scores for free. I found, that the U of M pool is a great place to cool off, if you remember your suit… three of us did. I found my way around the DC sites without spending too much time in the sweltering Maryland sun. But most of all I am getting to experience once again the youthful excitement and outstanding scholarship of the NHD National Event. I hope this is the second of a bunch of visits to Maryland and Washington, DC for the students of Random Lake High School. Drew, Katy, and Jessica represented Random Lake extremely well, even though they didn’t make the runoffs. There mere presence here is testament to a year’s worth of hard work and research and creativity. We plan to come back again next year. My good friend Steve, who lives nearby, has agreed to store my box fan for next year… when hopefully, I’ll be back to use it again.

James Mannion, Parent from La Crosse

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Jamie Mannion is one of the many parents, families, and teachers who have made the journey to College Park to cheer on our finalists.
Thank you for providing such a great experience for all the participants. As a parent it has been thrilling to follow these dedicated kids as they have grown and developed. It is now an often stated observation, but the research, writing and presentation skills that blossom during the History Day process are invaluable. Not only will they use these skills in academic pursuit, they will serve them well in most any future career.

Even more important to the students is the sentiment that they are having fun in the process. “Awesome”, “Fun”, and “really cool” seem to eloquently summarize the students experience. I have been proud, of course, to have a child involved in this great program, and amazed at the dedicated staff, teachers, and parents who have made it all possible. It goes without saying that the kids deserve a great pat on the back as well. With all the unhealthy choices and challenges pressuring them, these young people have chosen to not only avoid negative experiences, they have elected to challenge themselves beyond their standard school duties.

The experience will be a lifelong rich memory for my daughter and me. Thanks again for all you do.



Emma Bartlett and Rachel Anderson, Schofield

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Rachel and Emma enjoy breakfast in “The Diner.”
Hiiiiiiiiii guysss

Did you know that yall isn’t really plural? We didn’t. Oh but we sure learned. Yalls is…..Thank god for history day…if we wouldn’t of known….we probably would have died…. Anyways…….its SO hot over here. Seriously. You may think its hot back in Wisconsin or where ever you are. But its not. Its hot HERE. The dorms were hot. HOT. Whatever you didn’t sweat off during the day you would sweat off at night. Everybody here lost at least 7798855747678 calories. Don’t worry though…it was fun. We got to meet a lot of new people by trading buttons, walking around, site seeing and…basically everything.

DC is gorgeous. Everything is big and white and marble and pillars. There are statues and monuments everywhere. Our group from D. C. Everest got to see a lot of different things. We saw the Holocaust Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Korean War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, World War 2 Memorial, Smithsonian (American history, Natural, and art galleries), the Reflecting Pool (which is really really super duper dirty and kind of gross and slimy when you get up close…or within 786 feet), and….a lot of other sites that were cool, but we cant remember it all and I’m sure that you were getting bored of the list anyway.

By the way this is Rachel and Emma. Our topic was “They Called It :”Punk”: Communicating Through Music”. We did a documentary together but it didn’t make it to finals….sadly. Its ok though. We’re over it…um…actually, we were never really UNDER it…

AH. Anyways. Everyone here was really nice and the food was good. (Seriously, they had PUDDING. And DONUTS) So…pretty much history day was really fun. We hope that everyone if given an opportunity such as this, takes it and has a blast. We had fun, despite the grueling heat, sweaty sheets, crowded metros, THE OVEN (a.k.a. dorm), over-packed buses, rude business-people, and long walks. Seriously, we had fun. That wasn’t sarcasm. YAY FOR HISTORY DAY!



Lisa Becker, Teacher from Schofield

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Congressman Obey visits with some of the National History Day finalists from the 7th district.
My History Day experience here at the University of Maryland has been both an incredible and learning experience for me. This was my first year here! We had a great time meeting everyone from all over and visiting the sights.

The highlight of our trip was the visit to Congressman Obey’s office on Tuesday. Mr. Obey was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule for our group. We were escorted to his office without wait or delay. He made time to visit with us and answer the students questions. He even posed for numerous pictures. He stressed his support of education and specifically funding for History Day. We then were allowed to witness a debate on the house floor. The whole experience was quite an honor. I left the Capitol feeling very proud to be from Wisconsin and having Mr. Obey as our representative.

I am very proud of our student representation here at the National Competition. The kids did a great job on their projects and handled themselves in a very respectful manner. I feel like we all learned a lot. Just getting around on the Metro was an education. I am already looking forward to next year if I am asked to represent our school!



Cody Borgstrom, Ashwaubenon

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Cody and his partner, Sara, created a senior group exhibit entitled “Soldiers’ Letters: Experiencing War Through Their Words.”
This is my first year in National History Day and also my first year at the national competition. It has been an interesting and intriguing experience throughout. It is a unique competition that is both for learning and having fun.

One highlight is the buttons used for trading. It has been fun trying to get all of the buttons and I had a great time meeting new people. (A group from North Dakota was really nice and helpful.)

Today my dad and I finished some touring of D.C. The whole city is awesome and we tried to see everything that we could. After spending the morning in Arlington National Cemetery we stopped at the Pentagon to see if we could tour that. There was still some construction and an employee there started a conversation and explained some of the details, especially regarding the plane attack on the pentagon.

Next we met-up with some other Wisconsinites and met Senator Kohl. That was an interesting time, it is the first U.S. senator that I have ever met. He is congenial and hospitable. He made us feel welcome and was willing to answer any of our questions.

After that we came back on campus, and after finding something to drink (it’s hot here) (really hot here) (super hot here), we went to the Grand Ballroom to finish taking down our exhibit. The take-down went quickly. My group-mate and I enjoyed ourselves yesterday during the judging and we think that it went well. The judges were really nice and we are looking forward to getting feedback from them.

P.S. Emma AND Sarah are AWESOME!!!!



Sharon Walker-Johnson, Teacher from Kenosha

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In addition to touring, cheering, and learning, Sharon (left) was busy judging junior exhibits.
Greetings from College Park!

It has been wicked hot, but the soaring temperatures can’t compare to the exhibits, performances, and documentaries that I have seen the past few days. They are HOT. I am so very impressed with the scholarly work displayed here this week.

The trip has been a wonderful experience. I’ve gotten to know some awesome people from the Wisconsin delegation. I didn’t get to see Janet’s performance, but after spending time with her touring and talking and riding various forms of transportation (planes, trains and automobiles). I know that she put a lot of energy into her project.

Alan and Desi from Eagle River are SO ENTHUSIASTIC! I’ve had a great time playing cards, seeing monuments and discussing NHD teaching strategies with them. They are fun people and obviously quality teachers. The same goes for Jim from Random Lake. I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to experience NHD with them and their students.

Yesterday, I spent the day at the National Archives in a workshop for teachers. We were provided with a multitude of materials and information to use in the classroom. I’m ready to start the school year and next year’s projects already!! The wonderful part of this has been meeting teachers from across the U.S., from Maine to California (literally!) and a parent from Hawaii. Everyone is so friendly and willing to share ideas and concerns with each other. I’ve traded e-mails and addresses and made contacts that will certainly help me as a teacher and my students in future NHD endeavors.

I’ve had an awesome time thus far. Thank you Emma and Sarah for allowing me to tag along!



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The Wisconsin Crew makes Senator Kohl an honorary member of Team Wisconsin, complete with his own NHD in Wisconsin T-shirt.


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Dayce McAndrew, Alan Tulppo, Desi Nault, and Linda Sorenson smile for the camera in the lounge.


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