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National History Day 2006 Finals

Wisconsin has arrived!

Team Wisconsin ventures
into D.C. on the Metro for the
first day of sight-seeing.

They’ve come by bus, by plane and by car… and after months and months of History Day research Team Wisconsin has arrived at the national contest! Today was a day of preparation, registration and orientation. Students met other national finalists from across the state and country. We’ve been especially impressed with this group’s button trading prowess, accumulating buttons from over half the states in a matter of hours. Tomorrow, the junior division will present their research and proudly represent Wisconsin!

Good luck, juniors!

Sarah and Emma

Posted at 11:00 AM

Andrea Bosman, Fish Creek

Andrea's group members relax
and enjoy a little piece of Wisconsin
at our delegation braty fry.

Today was my first whole day at the Maryland campus. As a group, Wisconsin took the Metro to Washington D.C., and visited many historical monuments, and memorials. After we got off the Metro, my performance group broke off from the big group, and walked by the Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and the Mall. We also saw the White House from a distance.

When we got back to our dorms at about 3:00, we met almost all of the people from the Wisconsin team, went on a long, and exiting scavenger hunt. I finally got to meet someone I’ve talked a lot with on badgercentral at, Kelly Zuleger.

Then after the scavenger hunt was done at 6:00, we ate quickly at the diner, and then went to the Opening Ceremony, where we got to trade a lot of buttons. I went from having 8 buttons, to having about 40.

Today was a great first National History day, and I can’t wait to perform, and go the National Zoo in D.C.

Posted at 11:01 AM

Stephanie Usher, Kenosha

Stephanie watches the opening
ceremony and adds to her growing
button collection.

The flight was good, except fro the ear popping. The rooms were really hot. We forgot to bring a fan so the room wouldn’t get any cooler.

Button trading is the best thing you could ever do. When button trading, remember to get doubles of the states that are hard to find. The ones you might really want are DODEA – Department of Defense, Hawaii, Wyoming, and American Samoa.



Posted at 11:02 AM

David Heim, NHD little brother from Madison

David was a tough button
trader at the opening ceremony.

Went to see the national monument. I went inside it cause a nice man had extras so he gave us some. We took pictures at the white house. We went to the opening ceremony of the National History Day. We got a lot of buttons as you can see.






Posted at 11:03 AM

Emily Witcraft and Lauren Sparks, Eagle River

Emily and Lauren listen
to the speakers at the
opening ceremony.

We arrived last night so today we went to see all of the memorials. I loved the Lincoln Memorial, the WW2 Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. They all were amazing and impressive, I loved every one of them. After exploring a little in D.C. we came back to meet up with Team Wisconsin. We had fun getting to know each other by doing a fun scavenger hunt and running around the campus. By that time my partner had finally arrived and we ran around for about a half hour trading pins while waiting for the opening ceremony to start. After that we headed back to our room exhausted after a long, fun day. I had so much fun during just the first day and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week will bring me.


I woke up this morning at four because we had an early flight from Milwaukee. I thought it was really cool because it was my first time on a plane. I was nervous at first, but then everything was fine. My teachers were having some difficulties, but all is good, I mean after all, we did make it. It took forever to navigate throughout the city and I was relieved when we arrived. There was a mix up with the rooms, but my partner and I got it straitened out. Dinner was great, and I convinced this boy to get me a couple pins without compensation. He was really sweet and now I have THREE PINS: Hawaii, New Mexico, and South Carolina. My partner and I then went to the ceremony and enjoyed both guest speakers. After that we went to our room and talked. We went to bed exhausted and ready for the surprises of tomorrow.


Posted at 11:05 AM

Lindsay Hoefert, La Crosse

Lindsay, right, participates in icebreaker
activities at our delegation meeting
and gets to know other students.

Today my mom and I arrived in D.C. After we checked into our room, we went to the brat fry to meet other people from Wisconsin. All of the students competing in Nationals went on a really fun scavenger hunt to find random things around campus. While frantically racing against the clock to complete the scavenger hunt we also collected many buttons from various other states. I got to meet other people from Wisconsin and had a lot of fun today.

At the end of the day, my mom and I came back to our room to decorate our door and retreat people to our room to put their name on a map of Wisconsin.

Posted at 11:06 AM

Scavenger Hunt

Junior division students
get ready to explore the University
of Maryland campus on a scavenger hunt.








Posted at 11:07 AM

Junior Division Presentations

Students, parents and teachers look
to see who has made it to the final
round in junior documentaries and

Today has been a busy day for everyone from Wisconsin! While senior division students were touring in D.C., junior division students were presenting their research. All of the juniors from Team Wisconsin did an amazing job and we are incredibly proud of their hard work!

Two Wisconsin entries in the junior documentary and performance category have moved on to the final round! Laura Ball, Wauwatosa, advanced with her individual documentary about Lavinia Goodell and Eryn Johnson, Erin Jennings, and Katie Gunderson, of Holmen, advanced with their group performance about the White Rose.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's senior division presentations and junior division documentary and performance final rounds. Good luck everyone!

Sarah and Emma

Posted at 11:00 AM

Laura Ball, Wauwatosa

Laura and her teacher,
Cathy, check out the junior individual
documentary final round posting.

Greetings from Badgerland, one festive name for the Wisconsin territory of the dorm. I have just discovered that I am proceeding to the final round for my category of junior individual documentary. I had exactly zero expectations and am quite surprised. However, passing over that, I should like to tell you, dear reader, a little bit about myself, my project, and my experience.

My documentary is about Lavinia Goodell who is mostly known for being the first female lawyer in Wisconsin. For the Wisconsin Historical Society people who may be reading this, I would like to say that the historical society was most helpful in my research. I ventured forth to the historical society and found a newspaper article, a statute book, and Lavinia’s actual handwritten petition to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin which I quoted and projected on the screen during my documentary. I also met a very friendly, helpful archivist who encouraged me to speak to Catherine Cleary. I did end up interviewing her, and I include clips of said interview in my documentary.

One disadvantage of doing a documentary that I have discovered is the possibility of technical difficulties. I could not get my DVD to function this morning when I went in early to test the equipment. This gave me the greatest state of nervousness I have felt at this national competition. However, the coordinator of the building brought in a nice man who explained how to switch between the VHS and DVD connections. I managed to do it and regained my composure. The rest of my presentation went smoothly enough. Afterwards I went out to lunch with my uncle, who lives in Maryland, at a restaurant calls Adele’s, which is built into the Stamp Student Union. If any of you ever go there, I must say the ravioli is quite good.

Laura Ball
St. Jude the Apostle School
Proud member of Team Wisconsin!!

Posted at 11:01 AM

Kate Van de Loo, Eau Claire

Kate's mom helps her to get
ready to portray Elizabeth Seton,
pioneer in American education,
in her individual performance.

My name is Kate Van de Loo. I live in Eau Clarie. I am attending Nationals for my second consecutive year. My Junior Individual Performance is titled "Elizabeth Seton: Pioneer in American Education."

Elizabeth Seton lived from 1774 to 1821. She dreamed as a young lady to establish a school that day students could attend free. After her husband, William’s, death of tuberculosis, she taught a common early American boarding school in Baltimore, Maryland. She established a Catholic Religious Teaching Order of nuns to help her accomplish her goal of teaching poor and rich students in the same day school.

My Mom, brother, and I arrived in Washington, D. C., last Thursday to allow time to visit an archivist, Mrs. Bonnie Weatherly, who has helped me with my research since before Regionals. Mrs. Weatherly works at the Archives of Saint Joseph’s Provincial House, in Emmitsburg Maryland. This archives, about two hours out of D. C., is connected with the Seton Shrine Museum.

On Friday morning, my Mom, brother, and I visited the Seton Shrine Museum to see the houses in which she lived when the religious order she founded, the Sisters of Charity, was beginning. We viewed, among other things, portraits of many of her friends and donors, her writing desk, and her dancing shoes. In the afternoon, I presented my performance for both the general public visiting the museum, and the retired Sisters in the Religious Order Mother Seton founded in 1809. I also met and presented my performance for Mrs. Bonnie Weatherly, who has helped me with research, and citing sources stored at the Archives of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, where she works.

On Friday night, we visited the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, about ten miles away from Emmitsburg.

Posted at 11:02 AM

Nikhitha Murali, Ashwaubenon

Nikhitha and her project, which
is on display in the Grand Ballroom.

My NHD experience, was, and will always be, priceless. I saw many new faces from all around the country—including Alaska and Hawai’i! (It was also fun listening out to the different accents.) I had a great time trading pins with others; there are so many states! It great seeing new ideas and thoughts from other’s projects as well.

Today was judging day for me! I was interviewed by judges about my junior individual exhibit. I was a bit nervous (okay…perhaps a bit more than ‘a bit.’) But my butterflies disappeared when I began to talk; the judges were very nice too. Overall, I believe that the interview went well. I did my best, and that’s what really matters (or so they say…)

But there was a bunch more to my trip than today. Here’s a quick summary of my stay in Maryland:

Day 1—We arrived at 1:00 PM after a weary flight. My dad and I were starving, and so we decided to eat at a Korean restaurant, which proved to be…interesting. (We didn’t know half of what we were eating, and the waitress spoke only a bit of English; “How are you” seemed to be all she understood.)

Day 2—It’s touring time! We traveled around the Mall, and visited Washington Monument, Arlington Cemetery, Capitol Hill, and other important places (My feet are still aching

Day 3—We went to the Union, and set up my exhibit, registered, etc. Then it was off to the Brat Fry, where we met the rest of the Wisconsin delegation. It was nice seeing some familiar faces! It was fun (and tasty). I managed to keep my ears open during some furious trading at the back. The speeches were very interesting and inspiring.

Day 4—Judging day! I was also able to view other exhibits; I have some new ideas for next year!

We’ll be heading home tomorrow to Green Bay, Wisconsin. After six days it will be off to India, where I will be visiting family until August. Nationals was a wonderful experience; I thank everyone who made it possible! I will never forget it!

Nikhitha Murali

Posted at 11:04 AM

RJ Heim, Madison

Nate and RJ relax after a
great performance!

For my blog I decided to tell you about what happened at the VERY beginning. NHD turn out to be an awesome experience!

When I started NHD, I never knew it was as big as going to D.C. to be with other people from different states. My NHD started by meeting one of my friends, Nate Smith, in one period of class at the beginning of school. My friend walked up before class and said "Well RJ, would you like to do a NHD project with me?" I said, "Sure, why not?" He told me a little about Black Hawk, like who he was and what he was (An Indian). I now had a topic for NHD, and a partner.

Two weeks later, we went to Fort Atkinson, one army camp in the Black Hawk war. We took pictures of the copy of the fort that was built there. We also went into the museum there that was all about the Black Hawk war. This helped us decide to study more on Black Hawk, not just the Black Hawk war. That took us somewhere meaning we got a background.

This lead us to reading, taking notes, and writing the script. We got past school, regional’s, state, and now in Nationals we did not make it into the final round. :( This is just fine because, when do you get an excuse to go to Washington D.C.? When do you get so lucky to have a guy give you tickets, when you can’t get any because there out of them, to go into the top of the Washington Monument? :) :) :) My Black Hawk performance went well, and I have almost all the types of buttons. I need Delaware, Nevada and Washington D.C. So close.

Now in College Park Maryland, I am very happy that I got to compete and I am definitely doing it again next year. ON WISCONSIN!!

Posted at 11:06 AM

Wendy Kimbrell-Witcraft, parent from Eagle River

Emily, Lauren and their fan
club from Eagle River!

Hello to all from the Eagle River crew …

I’m one of the lucky parents riding on my daughter’s coattails, and the ride through the NHD super highway has been exhilarating. My daughter, Emily Witcraft, and her partner, Lauren Sparks, created a Junior Exhibit focusing upon Black Thursday. This event marks the day the African American Student Union marched out of their classes at UW-Oshkosh in protest of the school’s violation of their civil rights.

When Emily and Lauren began researching the topic, it was just another school assignment. They became impassioned, however, when their teacher, Alan Tulppo, took them to the Wisconsin Historical Society to begin their research. When Emily returned home from the field trip, she was wide-eyed and excited as she told my husband and I about how wonderful the Historical Society is. "I touched a book that was more than 100 years old, Mom," she said with reverence. She went on to relate how pleased she was to have mastered the archive system and to have had the opportunity to access her research independently.

Over the next few weeks, Emily and Lauren spent several weekends at our home and many long afternoons after school creating their project. Despite my natural inclination to offer help, both girls steadfastly and politely refused it. This alone was a learning experience for daughter and mother alike … Emily and Lauren created this project completely without parental guidance – a great self-discovery journey for both of them, and a good lesson for me to learn how to step back and keep my advice to myself.

Meanwhile, I delighted in watching Emily run Google searches on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and enjoyed hearing her voice her opinions about the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and violence vs. civil disobedience. When she began relating past events to the current Administration and the war in Iraq, I realized that the NHD project was helping her ground herself in the morass of political confusion bombarding her from the television, the headlines in the magazines littering our home, and the sounds of her own parents’ heated political debates.

Lauren and Emily were both surprised when they learned their project was going to Madison to compete at State, and they were equally surprised to learn it was going to Maryland. This project wasn’t about winning for them … it was about discovery. It was about discovering the resources available to them, as well as about discovering that past events mold the future. It was also about discovering their independence.

Learning that their project was moving ahead in a competition was an added bonus that enriched the experience to multiple degrees, and traveling to Madison and Washington have been filled with a kind of learning and excitement they didn’t expect to achieve. But, more on that later ….

Wendy Kimbrell-Witcraft
Northland Pines Middle School

Posted at 11:10 AM

Senior Division Presentations and Junior Division Final Rounds

Team Wisconsin makes the most of
their time in D.C. by seeing as many
monuments and museums as they can!

Team Wisconsin has had a fun day both on-campus and out touring in D.C. Senior division students impressed us all when they presented their research today! From Black Thursday at UW-Oshkosh to Roman Britain, Wisconsin students presented projects on a wide variety of topics. While there are no senior documentary or performance projects from Wisconsin in the final round, all of our seniors did an incredible job and we are proud to have them representing our state!

Junior division students toured D.C. by day and then returned to present and watch the junior division documentary and performance final rounds. Laura, Eryn, Erin and Katie did a great job! Make sure to tune check back in tomorrow when Wisconsin students head to the capitol to meet some of our representatives!

Sarah and Emma

Posted at 11:00 AM

Eryn Johnson, Erin Jennings, and Katie Gunderson, Holmen

Eryn Johnson, Erin Jennings, and
Katie Gunderson are interviewed by
the judges on Monday about
their performance entitled
"The White Rose."

Being at Nationals for National History Day has been a wonderful experience! Our project is on "The White Rose." The White Rose was a secret resistance group that handed out anti-Nazi leaflets during World War II in Germany. Our best source of research was an interview with the only surviving member of The White Rose group, George Wittenstein! That was so interesting! To display our research we put together a performance.

Being at Nationals has been a blast. We have met many new people and learned new things. This has been our first time being to Washington D.C. so we are trying to see as much as possible. So far we have been to: The Holocaust museum, The White House, Arlington cemetery, all the monuments, and Smithsonian’s. We hope to see more things tomorrow.

Eryn Johnson
Erin Jennings
Katie Gunderson

Posted at 11:01 AM

Casie Purdeu, Schofield

Mai Ka and Casie, both from
Schofield, enjoy dinner in "The Diner.

So another year in Washington D.C.! This is my second time competing at Nationals and each time is amazing. Not only do you see the government buildings where top secret agents are hiding, you have an awesome time with friends, other competitors and the sweet turtles in Maryland. While walking 3.3792 miles a day to go to all the sites in Washington D.C. (which is nearly impossible), each person has a chance to see the Washington Monument, The White House (where the president lives), the lovely National Aquarium (which is a fish tank), the International Spy Museum (learn to assume any homeless person is a government spy), and last but not least the Botanical Gardens (where flowers grow). Every thing you see here astounds you and brings new images to your mind.

While I was not dragging in the streets of Washington D.C., I was stuck on campus competing! I tried to hide my nervousness before my presentation and it finally hit me directly before I introduced myself that I am competing at Nationals. I am one of the top of my state and here I am. When it finally hits you, it surprises you for sure. The hardest and worst part is most likely the interview when the judges ask you tons of questions and you want to leave a good impression. While others stutter, I felt my interview went well overall and the judges seemed to enjoy it. That could all change once final listings are announced tonight. When competing, you must remember to breathe (if not you’ll die), wiggle your toes so you don’t pass out and to relax. You have worked this hard to get here, might as well relax and lay back for a while. We’re in Washington D.C. for gosh sake’s.

I will leave you with some interesting words of wisdom I have learned this past week.
1) Never trust the shuttle drivers- they may give you a heart attack
2) Bring excellent walking shoes if not, prepare for pain
3) Don’t lose your key, or else you lose $85
4) Trade your buttons with New Mexico
5) Bring an umbrella just in case it tinkles from the sky
6) Last but never least, HAVE FUN

Casie Purdeu
D.C. Everest Sr. High School
Senior Division- Ind. Doc.

Posted at 11:03 AM

Cathy Richter, teacher from Wauwatosa

Laura, family members, and her
teacher Cathy, right.

Hi Everyone,
I’m a middle school teacher from Wauwatosa and I have to say that coming to Nationals is awesome! This is such an incredible experience for my student, Laura Ball, my own daughter, Elizabeth, and myself. This is my second year participating in National History Day and wow did I have a lot to learn. I have learned more about the whole process of NHD in the last 3 days than I did in the last 2 years. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to talk with other teachers, parents, and Emma + Sarah. The discussions I have been involved in have been very beneficial and my students in future years will really appreciate them. NHD is such a terrific program and students learn so much more than they even realize while they are working on their projects. My students love the variety involved in NHD. They can choose their favorite type of project whether it is a documentary or an exhibit etc. or even whether they wish to work independently or in a small group. Over the last two days I have watched many performances and I have to say that I am really impressed. What an exciting way to demonstrate what you have learned about a topic in history. I can’t wait to talk with my students about this exciting type of presentation.
But I have to say that the most exciting thing about this week is watching my student, Laura, and how well she has handled herself through this whole process. I think every teacher should have to opportunity to get to see their students shine this way. The experience she has gained by presenting her documentary and being interviewed by the judges and handling the entire finals process is just terrific. I am very proud of her and how calm she has been each day. Well done Laura!

Cathy Richter – Teacher
St. Jude the Apostle School

Posted at 11:04 AM

Feryn Hsieh, La Crosse

Feryn, her mom and aunt
spend time in D.C.

Today I hung out with new friends I have recently met here at National History Day after my family and I went sight seeing in Washington D.C. My mom, aunt and I walked all over the mall and even got a chance to tour the capitol. We walked through awesome art museums too. Tonight though, my friends and I were initiated into the Girl Squad after creating a secret handshake, picking our favorite Spice Girl, practicing the wave in slow motion, and coming up with nicknames for each other. Today, we also watched the finals for the Junior Performances and were amazed. I kept on thinking that one performance was great when the next was even better. My History Day experience so far is awesome and I’m sure tomorrow will make it even better.

Feryn Hsieh
Lincoln Middle School
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Posted at 11:05 AM

Sharon Walker-Johnson, teacher from Kenosha

Sharon, right, takes a break to eat
lunch with her fellow judges.

It’s been a wonderful week, so far. Stephanie, Samantha, and Annie were interviewed on Monday and feel really good about their judging experience. They went sight seeing today in D.C. and with all the button trading, the Girl’s Power Team that Mr. History has organized, and meeting people from all across the nation they are having a great time!! The brat party and scavenger hunt organized by Emma and Sarah on Sunday was a lot of fun and really helped the Wisconsin Delegation bond.

I spent Monday judging and attended a workshop today at the National Archives. It’s been an awesome experience for me too. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to joining the girls and their moms on a trip to D.C. to see all the things they didn’t see today.

National History Day is such a great experience!! Sarah and Emma have done a great job helping us get to this point. Many thanks to the Wisconsin Historical Society for their support.

Sharon Walker-Johnson
McKinley Middle-Kenosha

Posted at 11:06 AM

Lindsey Rowland, Fountain City

Jill and Lindsey presented their
senior group performance about
Arthur Miller today.

Hi, I am having so much fun right now…this is the greatest…it is my first time to D.C. and I wouldn’t trade it for the world…we have walked all over D.C., but that is half the fun of exploring a new city…I have seen so many eye opening things that I want to come back again. Well this is so long for now because we are eating chips and dip in our dorm…so I miss you all, and we will talk to you soon!

Lindsey Rowland
Cochrane-Fountain City High School




Posted at 11:07 AM

Samantha Patrick and Annie Maerzke, Kenosha

Annie, Stephanie, and Samantha
spend time in the
Team Wisconsin Lounge.

A day in the Wisconsin Lounge can become pretty interesting with your friends from school and new friends you meet along the way. After a morning of watching performances of other groups we decided to hang out in the dorms. We found some balloons and crepe paper and made yet another friend. NINJA FRED! He is the coolest balloon ever! …..And don’t forget the Wisconsin Lounge Puzzle……. HOMER! Puzzles are fun but can not be too serious, remember the difference between dark and light GREEN. MY Girl Squad Gang made a hand game, motivation cheer and picked are favorite Spice Girl………actually we mad them up, mine is Paprika Spice. Anyway it is fun here and I am GLAD to be here. Never forget the Big PURPLE one! It sticks out like a SORE thumb. HAhaHA……….Bubbler!

Samantha Patrick

Nationals is a very exciting place and I am very excited to be here. I have made several new friends here and two are can you believe BALLOONS!!!!!!! They were called Fred and Ninja Fred!!!! Fred was the first one then along came Ninja Fred!!!!!!!!! I am so happy about our board and that it got us this far!!!! This is an awesome experience and I have almost all my pins now!!!!! It rocks!!! I toured DC today and I had a great time!!!! I love to say bubbler it is so much fun!!!!!

Annie Maerzke

Posted at 11:08 AM

Our Last Full Day in D.C.!

Senator Kohl meets with members of
Team Wisconsin.

For those of you who have read our previous blogs, have you noticed that something is missing? We didn't want to say anything before and jinx our good luck... but the weather in Maryland has been beautiful! Sunny with a breeze, it has been the perfect weather for touring D.C.

Team Wisconsin took advantage of this and headed out to tour in D.C. for one last day. Today, members of the delegation met with Senator Kohl and members of Representative Obey's staff. Finalists were able to talk about their projects and learn about life on Capitol Hill. Delegation members are looking forward to the excitement of tomorrow's closing ceremony!

Sarah and Emma

Posted at 11:01 AM

Mark Van de Loo, Eau Claire

Team Wisconsin relaxes together in the
lounge after a busy week!

I am presently sitting in the obnoxiously loud fifth floor lounge of Elkton Hall at the University of Maryland. About twenty people are laughing uproariously on my left while playing “Catch Phrase,” and my mom is talking with Mr. B. (Random Lake) in the corner. All others fearfully refrain from entering this treacherous zone. Wait, Emma just came in… “Wisconsinites behave!” Anyway, you probably get the picture by now.

My week has been great! My presentation, touring D.C. and such gatherings as the one described above have made life fun and exciting. I presented my documentary yesterday, and other than a few technical difficulties, it went well. I did not make the finals, but was able to watch them this morning, and acquired some ideas for next year. : ) This afternoon, I went to the top of the Washington Monument (thanks to the early morning ticket-seeking trip of my mom and my sister) where the view was amazing. I followed this with a visit to the International Spy Museum.

I’m too distracted right now to write anything more (the occupants of this room switched to playing a card game on the table where I am typing… slap! …) Anyway, though it’s crazy right now, Nationals has been great and I hope to return in the future.

Mark Van de Loo
Memorial High School (Eau Claire)

Posted at 11:02 AM

Mai Ka Thor, Schofield

D.C. Everest Junior and Senior High
students meet with Representative
Obey's staff.
Oh History Day! What can I say? It’s always a great time in Washington D.C. despite the absence of air conditioning in the dorm rooms, the crowds, and the walking. Just thinking about being a place with people from all over the country is astounding. A person would have to experience that feeling for themselves. It’s just something that is impossible to describe.

As for competition, it is tough. Making it through state is tough, but at nationals it’s almost a different ballgame. The projects here are at such high qualities that it would be a dream come true to place first. Judges ask harder questions, and the results for finals take forever to be posted.

Touring Washington D.C. is another part of the National History Day experience that no one should miss.
TOP 5 Things to do while in D.C. :
1. Night Tour of Washington D.C. (It’s beautiful at night!!)
2. Tour the Botanical Gardens
3. Go to the national zoo (Don’t go to the national aquarium. The tanks and fish at the zoo are so much better. Plus, the zoo is free unlike the aquarium which is $5)
4. The SPY Museum
5. The Holocaust Museum (It will take your breath away!!)

Well, that’s all I can think of writing at the moment. I have to go pack and get ready for tomorrow.

Mai Ka Thor
D.C. Everest Senior High School

Posted at 11:03 AM

The Random Lake Crew

Annie, Amanda and Jim from
Random Lake High School.

Hello again Wisconsin from the Random Lake contingent of Team Wisconsin. We’ve been having an outstanding time yet again in DC. This is the third year I’ve accompanied our scholars to the national event and despite the fact that I can now recognize some of the food service folks over at the Diner, it is still a thrill to be here. Annie and Amanda competed extremely well and had a fantastic interview. All you Random Lakers should be proud of all of the hard work and research that landed them here. They acquitted themselves quite well, despite missing the runoffs. I had a chance to see many other documentaries this year and the historical quality never ceases to amaze me. Students who qualify for nationals should never forget that it is an honor just to be here among the best. We have also had a great time visiting sites all over the metro area. Amazingly each year, I’ve gotten a chance to see more and new things. We have already visited Annapolis and the US Naval Academy, the monuments at night, the US Capitol, Library of Congress, and the trendy Georgetown neighborhood. We may see some baby pandas tomorrow. By the way, thanks again to all of the people back home who have made this trip possible including the State Historical Society and especially Sarah and Emma. Team Wisconsin just keeps getting stronger thanks to their tireless efforts. Go Badgers! Unless it’s basketball season… then Go Marquette!

Jim DeBroux
Teacher, Random Lake High School

Our project was a documentary entitled “Stephen Biko.” It was really nice having a documentary because we were soooo nervous during the competition!!!! All we had to do was push the play button and then of course the interview. I was so glad that our teacher had “quizzed” us about our topic, he had asked us sample questions that we might’ve gotten, he asked us the hard question we were hoping to not get in the interview, but of course got anyway…though the questions weren’t that hard but they weren’t the generic questions we had at all the other interviews. The interviewing process wasn’t that long but when it was over we were sooooo glad.

Amanda Ten Haken & Annie Schulz
Students, Random Lake High School
Random Lake, Wisconsin (The best place EVER!)

Posted at 11:04 AM

Alex Frantz, Appleton

The Frantz family looks at exhibits
in the Grand Ballroom.
Random Lake.

If there is one poignant fact that I have learned since leaving for nationals, it is that again I have been reassured that National History Day is not just a day, not a few weeks, not even a matter of months, but it is an experience. The dedication and time that students at this level has put into their project is impossible to measure in minutes, hours, days, months, or years. It can only be sensibly perceived through actions and events that separate the elite from the superior. I realize how subtle differences such as this could be to the naked eye. However, this difference must be appropriately and accurately perceived by the judges.

I must say that my judges saw superiority in my project. The rank among the elites must wait until another year. I have realized ways to improve my project. I have also learned more ways to enhance my project through watching the finals of my category.

But as much as this experience has been about my documentary, at the national level, in the junior division at least, it is about scoping things out. It is true that tears are a common site. However within a few hours usually things are back to normal. The long nights, early mornings, touring sites and buffet of Krispy Kremes take care of the rest of your trip.

This year has been quite a different experience. My entire family has come this year, I have been much more social, and I am bunking with a fellow member of our delegation. Today I toured the capitol, and returned to the Museum of the American Indian. I think that the Capitol was very fascinating! It is not exactly what the TV makes it out to be in the presidential address. I also saw the Supreme Court today, with my project being about Roe V. Wade, it was very interesting and moving to visit ground zero of my project.

Winning isn’t everything. It’s a bonus. The real prize is the experience!

Posted at 11:06 AM

Kayla Anschutz and Rachel Stewart, Fish Creek

Members of the Gibraltar High School group
eat breakfast in the cafeteria.

WOW! That’s pretty much all I can say for this week. It’s amazing that my group and I are hear especially since we never had any idea of us making it this far. This project started off as one of our history projects assigned by our teacher Mr. Clark. He told us we would all be making a project to present for some teachers who would then decide who to send to the regional competition. Somehow we managed a spot at state and then another one here. Our trip, to say the least, has been a very interesting one. Unfortunately we had to drive the whole way with one overnight in Ohio. I have to say Ohio is not the most interesting place ever but shhh….. don’t tell. After we got here we all explored the campus and realized this trip was going to take a lot more walking than we had anticipated. My group members; Rachel, Andrea, Samantha, and Morgan were excited about getting to see the monuments although we had come here for a class trip in 7th grade. We really wanted to go up the Washington Monument but could never manage to get a hold of some tickets. We were sad but there will be more times in the future. We got to see so many other things and it was worth the two day drive. We had our presentation on Tuesday and had sooooo much time to fill but we found the ways including hanging in the lounge and playing cards and puzzles. Even though we didn’t make it we were okay with it because we really had no idea that we would make it this far. One thing that makes this experience as cool as it could be is the fact that we are the only team from Gibraltar High School to make it to nationals and to be honest ALL WE WANTED WAS AN “A”. I think we even managed to get that. To any future students MAKE THE TIME TO COME!!! It is soooo worth it. To all current NHD students CONGRATULATIONS and GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Kayla Anschutz
Gibraltar High School

Like those who have already written in this blog I can honestly say that this has been fun………in an interesting way. Actually it has been really fun. And like Kayla said all we really wanted to do was get an ‘A’ on the project. Who would have guessed that we would end up in our nation’s capitol at a history competition I didn’t even know existed until a few months ago. (Well actually I heard about it last year but that doesn’t count because it was just when 8th graders did it last year.) I guess I can also say that getting here was fun…and I don’t necessarily mean the two day drive out here from Door County because let me tell you, over 16 hours in a beastly van…not exactly my idea of a fun time. Our group got together almost every weekend since we heard about the project at different people’s house but basically that accomplished almost nothing. We would get together for like 5 or 6 hours and get maybe 1 hour of work done if we were lucky. (LOL) Funny thing is that out of all the groups from our grade we got the most accomplished in those few hours we actually did work. Our group did have some problems (and will continue to have them for the rest of our lives but you know what that’s ok. We managed to get through it (somehow) without killing each other and quite frankly I’m glad we didn’t. Because even though we nearly kill each other every day of our lives it was fun and I don’t think it would have been as fun with anyone else. I guess we have to thank our teacher Mr. Clark (a.k.a. Mr. Clarky) for not killing each other. He was a really great coach, teacher and moral supporter throughout this whole experience. Too bad his daughter had to get married so that he couldn’t come. (And his wife was being ordained) Well in any event this has been really fun and amazing. I can’t wait to do it again…hopefully. Thanks NHD!!

Rachel Stewart
Gibraltar High School

Posted at 11:06 AM

Scott Strand, Schofield


Scott Strand, of D.C. Everest High School in Schofield, waits for his individual performance to start. Scott created a performance about Ron Kovic.

Posted at 11:10 AM

Team Wisconsin 2006


As the national contest draws to a close, we'd like to thank you for reading and all the members of Team Wisconsin for being an amazing delegation. Wisconsin was lucky to have each of you representing our state! We'll let the pictures speak for themselves as we take you through the closing ceremony and remember our time here.

Sarah and Emma

Posted at 11:00 AM

Walking to the Closing Ceremony


Team Wisconsin made its way to the Cole Field House for the Closing Ceremony. Despite jeers from Team Vermont that they have better cheese, we maintained our friendly Midwestern spirit.



Posted at 11:01 AM

The State Parade


Filled with alligators, snowmen, and of course, cows, the field house was the site of a massive demonstration of state pride. Team Wisconsin represented with cheeseheads, cowbells, cow fans, state flags, and FIVE inflatable cows. There was no doubt in anyone's mind where we were from!



Posted at 11:02 AM

Alex Frantz, Appleton, and Tyler Haro, Holmen


Alex and Tyler proudly display their Wisconsin gear in a view of the parade from the floor.




Posted at 11:03 AM

Wisconsinites are Everywhere!


We've run into Wisconsinites al over D.C., but this one took the cake! Two members of the Marine Corps Color Guard were from Wisconsin and on the look-out for their home state!



Posted at 11:05 AM

Laura Ball, Wauwatosa, wins the Jamestown and Women's History Award!


Laura Ball took home two awards at this year's ceremony. She won the junior division Women's History Award for her junior individual documentary on Lavinia Goodell, Wisconsin's first female lawyer. Laura also won the Jamestown 400th Anniversary Award. She and a parent will travel to Jamestown to represent Wisconsin.



Posted at 11:07 AM

Outstanding State Awards

Eryn Johnson, Erin Jennings, and
Katie Gunderson, Holmen, won
the outstanding Wisconsin entry
in the junior division.

Two groups were also selected to represent the Wisconsin as our outstanding state entries. Katie Gunderson, Eryn Johnson, and Erin Jennings of Holmen Middle School were selected for their junior group performance entitled "The White Rose."

In the senior division, Mai Ka Thor and Amber Will won for their group documentary "Do Your Thing: Standing Up on Black Thursday at UW-Oshkosh."



Posted at 11:08 AM

Scavenger Hunt - Junior Division


Junior division competitors in the scavenger hunt scoured the campus on Sunday evening. They searched high and low for athletes, presentation locations, Hawaiians, cheese, and even a real, live cow.



Posted at 11:10 AM

Scavenger Hunt - Senior Division


Senior division students participate in a campus tradition by rubbing Testudo the Terrapin for good luck during the hunt. In honor of their 150th anniversary, the campus was covered with turtles!



Posted at 11:11 AM

The Big Cheese of the Scavenger Hunt


Minnesota History Day Coordinator, Mr. History, wearing a cheesehead? 500 points and bragging rights for the week!




Posted at 11:12 AM

The Winning Scavenger Hunt Team


Finding Mr. History helped this senior division team take the prize! Members included students from Fish Creek, Seymour and Sheboygan.



Posted at 11:15 AM
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