TORRINGTON – Five Torrington Middle School students representing four projects earned a place at the National History Day competition in June, thanks to their efforts at the Wyoming State History Day contest last month.
Zoe Hoff – the first sixth grader from TMS to reach the national competition – received first place for her individual website: A Paralyzing Fear: The Vaccine That Changed the World.
“The reason I chose my topic is my grandfather had polio,” she said. “He died before I was born, so I never got to meet him. I wanted to do it as a memorial to him and all the other people who (suffered from this disease).”
Jaydynn Pickens received second place in Individual Website – sponsor Stephen Hart said this is the first time in school history TMS has taken both first and second in the state in the same category. Her website is titled: The Tale of Two Sisters: How One Inspired the Other to Change the World.
“I chose my topic because Eunice Kennedy Shriver, creator of the Special Olympics, created something out of absolutely nothing,” Pickens explained. “There was a negative view about people with disabilities, and she changed that.”
Klacie Groene and Carleigh Dugger earned the William H. Barton Award, which gives $100 to projects with the best use of oral history, for their entry: Autism the Tragic Treatment: How One Woman Triumphantly Changed the World’s Perspective.
“We chose our project, because we started out with an agricultural aspect,” the girls said. “After researching Temple Grandin, who is a high-functioning autistic individual, we wanted to learn more about that, so we went down (to Colorado) and met her.
“It was really cool to meet somebody, an entrepreneur who had time to talk with us about how she is not less of a person because of autism,” they added.
The pair also received second place in Group Website and qualified for nationals, however, having attended last year and due to conflicting schedules, they gave up their spot to third-place peers, Nayeli Loya and Gabrielle David, with a Group Website titled: A Two Minute Ride: Challenger
Explosion of 1986.
“Last year, in seventh grade, we both went to a STEM program about women in science,” Loya and David said. “We went to a little group about space … and the Challenger came up – we didn’t know what Challenger was. We picked a project we could really learn from.
“A lot of people remember that, it was really tragic and memorable,” they said.
The fifth TMS national qualifier is Nolan Long, who earned second place for his paper, The Normandy Invasion.
“I did my paper because my grandpa died last year (in May), and I found out his dad was in D-Day. I wanted to learn more about it,” he said.
While Jacee Shields and Peyten Husted did not qualify for nationals with their third-place Group Exhibit entry, Voyage of the Damned, they did win the American Heritage Center Primary Sources Award in the amount of $200, due to their excellent use of primary resources.
“We chose our topic because I am so passionate about the Holocaust – and it only increased my wanting to know more about what happened to all of these people and what they went through,” Husted said. “When we actually got to interview … I almost ended up crying – it was that emotional.”
“We ended up finding the St. Louis and once we researched that a little, we figured out there were people alive today that had been on the ship,” she continued. “We decided to try to contact some of them, and ended up finding two that we could contact.
“We learned how much these people went through,” Shields said. “Both were younger than us when they went on the ship. I can’t imagine going through that at that age.”
Adria Derby was not available to interview Monday, but earned a state finalist spot with her project: The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall: 28 Years of Despair and Tyranny.
“There are four of us (sponsors – Hart, Kelsey Walker, Dave Burrill, and Kevin Derby) who help out with the History Day program,” Hart said. “A combination of teachers who are dedicated to this – we’ve seen how much students are able to grow, cite evidence, read informational text … they’ve improved on their test scores.”
National qualifiers are accepting donations for the trip to Maryland in June, and have fundraisers planned in the near future.
“From all three years that we have participated, Carleigh and I have learned how to properly write a process paper and annotated bibliography … as well as try to find sources that matter and aren’t just junk,” Groene said of the merits of the History Day contest. “We’ve learned how to present formally and just how to function in a normal working society.”
A list of results is as follows:
American Heritage Center Primary Sources Award: $200 for the entry with the best use of primary resources. This includes all projects in all categories at the junior or senior level.
n Jacee Shields and Peyten Husted: Voyage of the Damned
William H. Barton Award: $100 for the best use of oral history in an entry. This includes all projects in all categories at the junior or senior level.
n Klacie Groene and Carleigh Dugger: Autism the Tragic Treatment: How One Woman Triumphantly Changed the World’s Perspective
n Klacie Groene and Carleigh Dugger: Autism the Tragic Treatment: How One Woman Triumphantly Changed the World’s Perspective (second place – national qualifier)
n Nayeli Loya and Gabrielle David: A Two Minute Ride: Challenger Explosion of 1986 (third place - national alternate)
n Zoe Hoff: A Paralyzing Fear: The Vaccine That Changed the World (first place – national qualifier)
n Jaydynn Pickens: The Tale of Two Sisters: How One Inspired the Other to Change the World (second place – national qualifier)
n Nolan Long: The Normandy Invasion (second place – national qualifier)
n Adria Derby: The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall: 28 Years of Despair and Tyranny (state finalist)
n Jacee Shields and Peyten Husted: Voyage of the Damned (third place – national alternate)