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History in the making

Woodbury

The second annual History Day Fair at Woodbury Middle School featured nearly 145 historical research projects by sixth-grade students.

Subjects included baseball, World War II and Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine. Many students shared their knowledge through photos and text on trifold poster boards. Others chose to create websites or perform a live stage show. At least one project, about the World War II fighter squadron the Flying Tigers, was produced as a video documentary.

Allissa Bagley, the social studies teacher who brought History Day to the school, said many students chose subjects that related to their own ethnic or cultural heritage.

Twenty-eight exhibits qualified to compete at Regional History Day March 23. The number is the maximum allotted to the school by the Minnesota Historical Society. A panel of volunteer judges made the recommendations after viewing all the exhibits.

They included Tanya Luniewski and her exhibit on Polish Solidarity Movement. The Team of Jack Konieck and Ethan Topp also qualified with their exhibit on the Coal Miner's Strike of 1902.

"When I first started my project I didn't know anything about it," said Konicek, 12. "I thought Teddy Roosevelt was against the miners. He just wanted to help everyone and end the strike."

National History Day in Minnesota draws more than 27,000 students from more than 250 schools. Regional winners will move onto the state finals May 6. The top state entries will compete at the national competition at the University of Maryland-College Park in mid-June.

Sixth graders Abe Wall and Nate Dale did their research project on the American Indian Movement.

Dale said he was "surprised how strict we were to the American Indians."

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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