Parker students qualify for National History Day competition

Five teams of students at Parker Junior High, with their teachers, show off their ribbons signifying their regional wins for the National History Day competition. They will compete on the state level April 24. (Provided photo)

Five teams of students from Parker Junior High in Flossmoor have qualified for the state’s National History Day Illinois State Competition April 24 in Springfield.

Led by humanities teacher Linda O’Dwyer, the students entered regional competition at the Chicago History Museum on March 9.  The five teams learned of their selection for state competition in a virtual reveal on March 20. 

Parker teams hope to be selected among the top two teams in each category chosen to move to national competition in June at the University of Maryland.

Parker’s 70 students started work on their history projects in September. This is the 50th year of the National History Competition and students used the theme “Turning Points in History” to select their topics.

They broke into 13 teams and completed exhibits, documentaries, performances and wrote a paper. Creating a website around a topic was also an option, and O’Dwyer said one team did that. O’Dwyer said the competition gives students a chance to focus on research skills, team building skills and time management skills.

“Research is a big part of it,” she said and credited teacher Sarah Rudenga who helped the students develop their annotated bibliographies and improve their note taking skills. Parker teachers in English/Language Arts, social studies and humanities used the history projects as part of their course work. 

“It’s difficult. It’s a lot of (research) work they put into it before they even start their project,” O’Dwyer said.

Representing Parker Junior High at the state competition are:

The eighth grade team of Isabella Davis, Ella Linde, Isaac Hernandez, Zephyr Peters and Ezra Raftery entered “The Voyage of Rails and Waves” in the performance category. It highlighted changes brought on by the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The seventh grade team of Selah Shamley, Mia Paske, Darby Van Vliet, Alex Marlo and Emilien D. Hubert entered “New Flights Effects on Community Economy and War!” in the documentary category.

The eighth grade team of Kayla Jones, Khristiana Faith Brown, Julia Jenkins, Katelynn Woods and Alle Orr entered “The Brains Behind the Mission” in the exhibit category highlighting the work of African American women mathematicians.

The seventh grade team of Mikiya Rufus, Sadie O’Keefe, Charlotte Aceves, Addison Graham and Anna Sikkema entered “The Salem Witch Trials: 19 Victims that Altered the Courts” in the exhibit category.

The seventh grade team of Brielle Atkinson, Alexandra Jones, Sophia Sanchez and Shyla Viner entered “Double Trouble: The 9/11 Attacks” in the exhibit category.

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