Courtesy The Columbia City High School students are in the Washington, D.C., area this week for the National History Day Contest. Pictured are Jackson Longenbaugh, Maddie Schroeder, Liam Hesting and Grace Mills.
Monday, June 12, 2017 1:00 am
Teens' website sends them to nationals
ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette
A Columbia City High School foursome this week is accomplishing something no other group from their school has done: compete in the National History Day Contest in College Park, Maryland.
The teens – Jackson Longenbaugh, Maddie Schroeder, Liam Hesting and Grace Mills – created their entry, a website about Eunice Kennedy Shriver, as sophomores in Kristin Rentschler's AP World History class.
“I'm definitely excited we made it this far,” Schroeder said in a group phone interview last month. “We didn't really have any intention to go to Washington, D.C. To make it a reality was really cool.”
“Nothing I've ever done has made it to nationals,” she said.
The 2017 National History Day Contest runs through Friday at the University of Maryland. More than 3,000 students worldwide annually advance to the competition, which this year asked students to create a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website on the theme “Taking a Stand in History.”
Shriver sought to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and founded the Special Olympics.
The Columbia City students could relate to her cause. Schroeder's mother works with special needs students, the teen said, adding Hesting had a relative compete in the Special Olympics.
The teens tweaked their work based on feedback from their teacher and people at the Indiana Historical Society, Rentschler said. She credited her students for being willing to complete those extra steps and put in extra time, sometimes at 10 or 11:30 p.m.
They compete Tuesday, meaning they will be interviewed about their project and research, Rentschler said.
She said the project gave the students a realistic representation of what an historian might do other than teach, which is a common assumption.
Although an Indian Springs Middle School student made it to nationals last year, Rentschler said, this is the first group from Columbia City High School to advance to this level.
“I had an idea that this group had a project that had potential pretty early on,” she said.
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