On Saturday, March 5, 2016, 35 Kazoo School students in grades 4-8 participated in the regional competition of National History Day. This event invites students in grades 4-12 to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice – related to the year’s theme – and present their findings in as a paper, display, website, documentary, or performance. Students must be prepared to answer questions about their topics and also write a “process paper” reflecting on what they learned from the research process.
This year’s theme, “Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange,” proved an interesting challenge to many students, who found unique ways of connecting their topic to the theme. For example, students pursued interests in science by studying how researchers explored and encountered cures for pneumonia or how the space shuttle Atlantis facilitated the exchange of ideas on the International Space Station. Others followed their passions for women’s rights or animal right and made strong cases for the need to continue exploring ways to build a more equal and just society.
All Kazoo students in 4th-8th grades completed projects (individually or in small groups), and presented them at school to an audience of their peers, parents, and teachers. Students were given the choice of whether or not to participate in the competition.
Amid stiff competition at the regional event (280 student participants!), Kazoo’s students fared quite well. Twenty Kazoo School students (and three Kazoo alumni) qualified to move on to the state level of competition next month, and some may even progress to the national level.
State qualifiers included:
Upper Elementary students:
- Colin – 1st place in Youth Indiv. Documentary (“Nunna-da-ul-tsun-yi: The Place Where They Cried”)
- Sean – 2nd place in Youth Indiv. Exhibit (“The Conservation President: Theodore Roosevelt’s Legacy of Exploration and Preservation”)
- Micah & Aidan – 3rd place in Youth Group Exhibit (“Apollo 11 and the Space Race”)
- Taye – 1st place in Youth Indiv. Performance (“Alexander Hamilton: The Orphan Encounters Fame”)
- Teah – 2nd place in Youth Indiv. Website (“The Inuit: Encounters and Exchanges with European Explorers”)
Middle School students:
- Laryn – 3rd place in Junior Indiv. Documentary (“Final Exit: The Story of Heaven’s Gate”)
- Max – 2nd place in Junior Indiv. Documentary (“Encounters and Exploration on Cures for Pneumonia”)
- Caroline – 1st place in Junior Indiv. Documentary (“The Story of Kalsec”)
- Maeve & Eva – 3rd place in Junior Group Documentary (“An Exchange with the Devil: Witchcraft in the 17th Century”)
- Liam & Gracen – 3rd place in Junior Group Performance (“The Michigan Fur Trade: Our State’s History”)
- Simone – 2nd place in Junior Indiv. Website (“Martha Graham: Exploring Modern Dance”)
- Ava – 1st place in Junior Indiv. Website (“Emily Wilding Davison: A Suffragette Martyr”)
- Arden & Ian – 2nd place in Junior Group Website (“Francis Drake: Breaking the Spanish Grip on the New World”)
- Annie, Gus, & Elliot – 1st place in Junior Group Website (“Motown: Breaking the Color Barrier Through Music”)
- Hannah Lane-Davies – 1st place in Senior Indiv. Documentary (“Homosexuality and the DSM: The Encounter and Exchange of an Instant Cure”)
- Hayden Lane-Davies – 1st place in Senior Paper (“Werner von Braun: The Nazi Who Sent Us to the Moon”)
- Madeline Hinkley (and Isabel Holtan) – 1st place in Senior Group Documentary (“Breaking Racial Barriers Through Classical Music in the 1920s”)
Four Kazoo students/alumni also won special awards:
- Taye for Best Use of Primary Sources, Youth Division
- Ava for Best in Website category
- Hannah for Best in Documentary category
- Hayden for Best in Paper category
Congratulations to all of the young historians, and many thanks to their teachers, parents, and others who supported them along the way!