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National History Day 2007 Finals

Senior Division Presentations, Touring in D.C. and a Happy Birthday!

NHD 2007 Finals
Denise Toomey celebrates her 17th
birthday with the rest of Team
Wisconsin in College Park.
Happy Birthday!

Tuesday was another fantastic day in College Park, Maryland! It was the senior division's turn to take the stage and present their work to the judges. All of our national finalists represented the state proudly and impressed the judges with their depth of knowledge and historical research. Congratulations to everyone! The junior division students spent the day taking in as much of Washington D.C. as possible and returned home to watch the final rounds in the junior performance and documentary categories.

All of the Wisconsinites have been getting to know each other and enjoying spending time together, from playing games to celebrating a birthday.

Wednesday, we will head out to D.C. to meet with our elected officials and see more sites. Team Wisconsin wants to send a special thanks out to all of our readers - we hope you're enjoying the journal!

Sarah and Eric

Posted at 10:00 AM

Cody Haro, Holmen

NHD 2007 Finals
Cody Haro chomps on
a cheese frisbee.

My name is Cody Haro and I am a junior at Holmen High School in Holmen, Wisconsin. My History Day project is a senior individual exhibit about the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, who was a group of Americans that volunteered to fight in the defense of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War.

Throughout my experience with National History Day, I have learned a lot about history, and academics in general. Notably, I have had the enjoyable experience of meeting many interesting people, including two 93-year-old veterans who fought with the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. I have enjoyed my time at the national competition in College Park and the surrounding Washington D.C. area. So far, I have seen the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Washington Mall and Georgetown. Tomorrow, I am going to see the Pentagon and maybe the Washington Botanical Gardens.

Posted at 10:01 AM

Kari Brown-Herbst and Becky Pokrandt, Eagle River

NHD 2007 Finals
Keri Brown-Herbst, Lynn Bybee,
Becky Pokrandt, Samantha Bybee,
Greg Bybee, and Amanda Bybee
proudly represent Eagle River.

Northland Pines School District has had a presence at NHD Nationals for each of the last three years. In the 2007 competition we have an 8th grade student, Samantha Bybee, entered in the Junior Documentary Division with her film, "Trapped in the Triangle" It has been an honor to share this journey with Sammy, from day one in November when she came up with her topic, to this morning's time at Arlington National Cemetery where we watched the changing of the guard in absolute silence.

Being a teacher chaperone at National History Day is an incredible experience. I have been immersed in the energy of Wisconsin's most enthusiastic and committed young historians. I have watched as young students from our state have engaged in conversation about their projects with peers from around the country and I have listened as adults have coached and congratulated our students. I have seen our kids' stand taller with praise from those around them, and I have explored with them the rich history that is our country.

NHD Nationals is an experience that will impact any student who has the drive and commitment to get here.

- Kari Brown-Herbst

I am Becky Pokrandt from Northland Pines Middle School in Eagle River. This is the first time I have attended the NHD National competition and I have been pumped with enthusiasm and excitement for the upcoming year of NHD. I have been afforded the awesome opportunity to travel to the University of Maryland as a chaperone representing our school and I will be leaving filled with knowledge and the utmost respect for all participants. Watching many of the presentations and viewing the countless number of exhibits, has given me a new appreciation for this program. The learning that takes place over time is one thing but the growth and individual leadership qualities that are instilled in these students is another. This is a time in each one of their lives when they have earned the honor to stand tall and be proud. They have traveled a distance to come together with 2000 other students to bring history alive. Mission accomplished!

The DC experience is amazing and will go down in many scrapbooks and journals as the time of their life. The NHD organization is to be commended for their dedication to the program but more importantly to the students. Just as the tapestry is woven so also will the stories continue.

- Becky Pokrandt

Posted at 10:02 AM

Jordan Braxton, Madison

NHD 2007 Finals
Jordan Braxton
and Michael Street's
"European Exploration" exhibit.

My name is Jordan I am from Wisconsin. My project is about Early European Exploration of the New World. This is a very good experience because I've gotten to meet a lot of people. I have had a lot of fun and I wish it could go for a little longer. I'm going to miss all my friends.

National History Day is a good experience because there are so many things you can do with the theme they give you. The fun part is that we can create projects and advance through the competition. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Posted at 10:03 AM

Melissa Slattery, Schofield

NHD 2007 Finals
Melissa Slattery gets giddy
for her NHD blog close-up.

I am Melissa Slattery and I am from Wausau, Wisconsin!

Washington D.C. has to be the best place ever, especially when you're with Team Wisconsin! Today I presented my performance about the Sand Creek Massacre and the slaughter of innocent Cheyenne in the morning and then went to Arlington Cemetery, the White House, Ford Theatre, the Science and Space Museum, and the Veteran Wall. I am super tired, but it was lots of fun!

I love History Day and Washington D.C. I've seen so many amazing projects and so many places. Ford Theatre, the place where President Lincoln was assassinated, and the Science and Space museum were really cool and I can't wait to see more places and projects in the next few days. Go Wisconsin!

Posted at 10:04 AM

Denise Toomey, Schofield

NHD 2007 Finals
Denise Toomey waits for the judges'
signal to begin their senior
group documentary about the
Peshtigo Fire.

I present my documentary today. That's right, I'm doing a senior group documentary on "The Great Peshtigo Fire: Wisconsin's Unknown Tragedy and even though my partner couldn't make it, tomorrow's my 17th birthday and I might get to see the Atlantic Ocean. Well, I should probably get going, we might be starting a game in the lounge. Yeah, that's right "Floor Five" is the party floor!

Yesterday we got to see Kennedy's grave at Arlington as well as the tomb of the unknown soldier. After that we did a little shopping in Chinatown and I bought these neat meditating balls at an oriental store that say "Washington D.C." on them and at the same store I found a Coach knock-off wallet for only $10! Afterwards we went to the zoo and got to see the giant pandas! One even tuned it's back to all of us . . . I guess he was just showing us his best side.

Posted at 10:05 AM

Anna Patel, Milwaukee

NHD 2007 Finals
Anna and Deborah Patel
show excitement
following Anna's
documentary presentation.

Hello, my name is Anna Patel. I'm from Milwaukee (Wisconsin, quite obviously) and I did an individual senior documentary on Alexander the Great. What follows is an approximation of my day (military time).

0745: Wake up to the melodious sounds of my roommate moving around. Realize that it is in fact morning and that it is necessary to get up off the normal college dorm bed.

0815: Meet my roommate, Lynn, and her parents (my chaperones) in the cafeteria. Am amazed at the sheer amount of different accents, dress, and buttons surrounding me. So many states, so little time.

0930: Wait for the university shuttle with a very nice boy from Texas and his mother.

1000: Enter the room for individual senior documentaries. Settle down to watch other documentaries. One girl has terrible technical errors, and I pray to whoever's listening to give me a glitch-free performance. See documentaries on Haussmann and religious pilgrims making their way across the Plains.

1200: Lunch consists of a bag lunch generously provided by the kitchen staff hastily eaten while changing into nicer clothes for my presentation. Find typo in process paper that I had edited obsessively before leaving my printer behind. Darn. Fix typo in all versions of process paper.

1230: Meet Mom in front of dorm and head back to Jimenez Hall. Manage to get stuck behind three trucks pulling out in the same journey. It has to be karma.

1300: Arrive at Jimenez Hall. Watch documentaries on homestead women and the Great Escape.

1340: Start my documentary for the judges. Sit with both eyes on the TV praying that there are no glitches.

1350: No glitches, thank you very much. Also manage to survive the High Inquisition (AKA the judges' questioning). Am able to answer every question with satisfaction.

1410: At Stamp Student Union, buy NHD t-shirt for my teacher who was unable to come due to prior commitments. Have a very large internal debate between small and large.

1430: Meet up with my friends for the Richard Dreyfus town hall meeting. Stand in a very long and kind of scary line.

1450: Enter the theater and wait for Richard Dreyfus. The History Channel's logo is projected everywhere. You have to love sponsorship.

1530: Dreyfus finally comes onto the stage (who was supposed to enter at 1500).

1640: Practically dragged off the stage because of time constraints, Dreyfus exists with one parting shot ("Civics needs to be taught in the United States!").

1650: Entire union is alight with discussion of Dreyfus seminar. Mom and I make a bee-line for the car.

1705: Go to Chipotle's and burn back of throat with hot chili-roasted corn salsa that was thought to be mild salsa. Oops. Cool it down with Cold Stone's ice cream.

1800: Head back to campus, and watch with amusement as a pirate then two GIs walk by (performances).

1830: Postings for the final round come up. Am not in it, but am not too disappointed. There were so many other great documentaries this year, and I'm proud I did make it to nationals.

1900:Listen to Julian Kulski in Stamp, a former freedom-fighter in Poland against the Nazis. Very inspiring and interesting. Later get his latest novel signed.

1945: Look at exhibits. Am very wowed by amount of effort that went into the production. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon actually has a water garden. Wow.

2030: Make another Cold Stone's run for my friend Kelly and her mother.

2100: Come back to a dorm filled with cake from one of the girl's seventeenth birthday.

2122: While typing this up, girls from Hawaii walk around the Wisconsin lounge giving everyone shell necklaces and wonderful chocolates. This place rocks.

So endeth a day in the life of the NHD student at nationals.

Posted at 10:06 AM


NHD 2007 Finals
The entire crew from Neillsville enjoy
lunch in The Diner.

Posted at 10:15 AM

Al Menard and Eric Sorenson, Eau Claire

NHD 2007 Finals
Al Menard and Eric Sorenson, senior
performance presented their
research on John Deitz and the
Cameron Dam.

Posted at 10:16 AM

Brittany Schmitt, Andrea Hasslinger and Andrea Drazkowski, Fountain City

NHD 2007 Finals
Brittany Schmitt and Andrea Drazkowski
of Fountain City presented their
senior group documentary about
Lavinia Goodell.

Posted at 10:17 AM
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