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National History Day 2009 Finals

Senior Division Judging


NHD 2009 Finals
Nate and Jeffrey wait to begin
their documentary for finals.

Today was the senior division's time to shine. All of our students were fantastic and impressed the judges with their research, analysis, and presentations. Many members of Team Wisconsin also spent the day seeing other Wisconsin presentations on campus. We're also pleased to announce that Jake of Durand was selected to move on to the final round in the senior individual documentary category.

Wednesday will bring Team Wisconsin into D.C. to meet with our representatives. Come back to learn more!

Sarah and Sarah Michele
Team Wisconsin Coordinators




Posted at 8:00 PM

Callie, student from Whitewater


NHD 2009 Finals
Callie prepares for
her individual performance.

Today was a huge day! Today was the day when all the Senior Division showed what they were capable of to the judges. I did an Individual Performance on Alfred Lunt so obviously that meant a lot of nerves. The feeling once you get done with the performance is so weird, you get really nervous, and then its just a relief! You just get to relax. After I did my performance I went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It was also a really fun day yesterday! I saw everything that was in The Mall and also got a very far away glimpse of Michelle Obama! Like Sarah and Sarah Michele say, just have fun; there is no big reason to be nervous, we have already accomplished SO much! This has been an AMAZING experience… Good luck all National Finalists!!!


Posted at 8:00 PM

Elizabeth, Student from Whitefish Bay


NHD 2009 Finals
Elizabeth and her mom
after completing her interview.

Hi! My name is Elizabeth Karron. I am a seventh grader from the Whitefish Bay Middle School, which is near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My project, The Man Outside of the Public Eye: Re-Examining the Life and Legacies of Joseph R. McCarthy, is an entry in the junior paper category. The National History Day experience has been a great way to learn to research primary sources and to use them to construct an argument. The knowledge I have gained from History Day has been invaluable, and will continue to serve me for the rest of my life.

My National History Day experience in Washington D.C. began on Sunday, when members of the Wisconsin delegation toured the Mall and climbed up to the Old Post Office Tower. The view was incredible. We could see for miles! After the tour, the Wisconsin group had a pizza party and a scavenger hunt to get to know each other and kick off our National History Day experience. Everyone was very friendly. Later in the day, the button trading came into full swing. It was a great way to get to know my fellow NHD participants, and I collected some very cool buttons!

On Monday, I interviewed with the judges. They asked challenging questions that explored my understanding of my topic, but I felt well prepared. I spent the rest of Monday as well as Tuesday viewing other performances and documentaries. I was very impressed by the hard work and dedication of all of the participants and by the caliber of the work that they produced. I hope to write again soon!


Posted at 8:01 PM

Chris, Teacher from Whitewater


NHD 2009 Finals
Chris views exhibits in the
Grand Ballroom.

Good evening. My name is Chris Zimmerman, and I am a teacher from Whitewater, Wisconsin. I have been teaching for about thirteen years, and I have never had an experience that has been even remotely similar to what has been going on here in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. This has been a great experience for the students, parents and the teachers. Whitewater just started a National History Day program last year, and we are so proud of Callie, Max, Sung and Thomas as well as all of the students from Wisconsin. I have been so impressed with all of the students who are attending the national contest. It is a real thrill to see students with an awareness of historical events and how they can impact their own lives. The best parts of the experience for me has been seeing all of the different projects from all over the country and having a chance to talk about the projects with all of the other students. I hope to return to Whitewater with different ideas for my students so that we can return again next year. I was worried that the event would be stressful on myself and the students I have brought. However, the opposite has been true. I have enjoyed every minute of my time here and hope to return again next year and the years after.


Posted at 8:02 PM

Lorie, Parent from Madison


Tonight the exhibits were open to public viewing again. I wandered around and was surprised to find another one on John Ringling. It's in the Senior Individual Division. I think the person who did it must live in Florida, because the sources all seemed to be centered around Sarasota. Of course we know that Wisconsin is the true hometown of the American circus. Carolyn and I had such a good time driving up to Baraboo and meeting Erin Foley, librarian of the Circus World Research Library. Erin was a font of information for Carolyn about the American circus. She spent a great deal of time talking to Carolyn and sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for all aspects of Ringling history.

I've met a girl in the Wisconsin group who has done a project on Cornelia Harvey. I was excited to hear this, since Carolyn and I have a friend who gave a Junior Individual Performance in the role of Cornelia Harvey when she was in middle school—and now she's a middle school teacher herself with NHD students of her own! Anna-Lisa, your legacy lives on. I know you must be happy about all these students getting so fired up about history!

Tomorrow we're going to meet Tammy Baldwin, and then we'll tour the Museum of Natural History. Good-bye for now.

Posted at 8:03 PM

Jake, Student from Durand


NHD 2009 Finals
The Wrasse family
celebrate Jake's presentation.

My name is Jake Wrasse, and I am having an awesome time in Washington! My senior individual documentary, Harry S. Truman: The 'S' is for Surprise, made it to the final round of competition and I cannot believe it! I'm from a small town in western Wisconsin, so having one of the top fourteen documentaries in the country is unbelievable. This has been an incredible adventure that I will never forget. It's so nice to have a reason to travel to Washington, D.C. History Day this year has been on of the best experiences of my life! NHD is the best project in the world to work on, because it lets students incorporate all of their speaking, writing, computer, and research skills into one finished product, not to mention getting to travel to Madison and Washington, D.C. History Day makes researching fun and even though it takes a lot of time, seeing the finished product makes the whole thing worthwhile. Looking back on all the time I have spent on my documentary, I don't regret a second of it. If you are thinking about doing History Day but can't decide, I'll decide for you: Do it! You can thank me later, because I know you'll like it. Hope to see you guys at next year's competitions!


Hey! My name is Ben Wrasse and my brother is competing in the National History Day competition. We have been in D.C. since Saturday night and we have been having a blast! We have gone to the monuments, the White House, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other fun places. Today was the senior judging day so my brother had to show his documentary on Harry S. Truman and get judged. After that we went to Arlington Cemetery and that was really cool but it made me kind of sad to see the funerals that were going on. Back to the competition. My brother, Jake, made it to the finals. He is in the top 14 in the United States(in the senior individual documentary category)!!! Tomorrow is the finals then afterwards we are going to do the final things we will get to do on this trip because we are leaving Thursday afternoon and Thursday morning will be the closing ceremony. I will miss being on vacation. I guess Wisconsin is fun(sometimes).





Posted at 8:04 PM

Issac, Student from Madison


NHD 2009 Finals
Isaac preparing for
his individual performance.

Hi, my name is Isaac Herlitzka, and my project is on John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Lincoln. It is a junior individual performance, and I made it to nationals for the first time ever, and it is my first year at National History Day. NHD is a very good experience, for anyone who likes to act, use computers, etc. It is also just fun to meet new people from all across the globe. Also you have a chance to tour DC, and Maryland if you get to nationals). It is also just a great experience to learn about a topic that you find interesting (and here's a hint for anyone looking for some prize money, research what the awards are before you pick your topic).


Posted at 8:05 PM

Lucy, Student from Waukesha


NHD 2009 Finals
Sara, Lucy's dad, and Lucy wait
for her documentary presentation.

Hi! I'm Lauren "Lucy" Smith and my project is on Theodora Winton Youmans, a native of Waukesha, Wisconsin. She's all about women's suffrage and it's really interesting how no one knows who she is. My partner's mom from Waukesha didn't even know. It's a junior group documentary, but my partner Emily Burton was unable to be here due to a prior family commitment.

Today was my day off because we didn't make it to the final round. Disappointing, but an overall good experience. We took the metro to DC this morning and saw the Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean War, WW2 Memorials and the Washington Monument. This was the second time for me; I had been there about a month and a half earlier on the school trip to DC. I got some better pictures since before I was there at night and it was really hard to see clearly. The WW2 Memorial is cooler at night though, so I recommend that you go when it's dark, but not too dark. We then continued on to the Smithsonian American History museum. I wanted to try to get a picture of the Star Spangled Banner, but the security guard was keeping a close eye on everyone. We did see the ruby slippers again, and that was pretty cool. We came back to the dorms and relaxed for a while, then Sara, my friend who came to support me, and I went to the indoor pool after dinner. That was about it for the day and I'm excited to spend another day here before coming to home sweet home Wisconsin…where the cows are.


Posted at 8:07 PM

Mikaela, Student from Nicolet


NHD 2009 Finals

Mikaela and her family after her performance, "Miriam Makebai: Voice of Apartheid"


Posted at 8:20 PM

Grand Ballroom in the Stamp Student Union


NHD 2009 Finals

Sarah Michele checks out the competition in the Grand Ballroom.


Posted at 8:21 PM

Maryland Specialty


NHD 2009 Finals

Students from Madison enjoy the local special, crab chips!


Posted at 8:23 PM

Senior Group Exhibit


NHD 2009 Finals

Jordan and Melissa's senior exhibit, "Cordelia A. P. Harvey: An Uncommon Angel."


Posted at 8:30 PM

Senior Group Exhibit


NHD 2009 Finals

Erin, Cory, and Jordan's senior exhibit, "Jack the Ripper: Media's Perpetual Sensation and Notorious Catalyst of Social Reform."


Posted at 8:31 PM

Senior Individual Exhibit


NHD 2009 Finals

Samantha's individual exhibit, "Waging War for Basic Rights: Rose Schneiderman."


Posted at 8:32 PM

Senior Individual Exhibit


NHD 2009 Finals

Kelly's senior exhibit, "Fresh Air for Union Soldiers."


Posted at 8:33 PM
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