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250 students compete in Regional History Day

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) – March is competition time for many high school students. On the court, on the ice and in the classroom. About 250 students put their best work on display at Southeast Minnesota History Day Regional Competition. The History Day Competition has been around for about 40 years.

“History is very important,” 7th grader at Byron Middle School Ella Rodemeyer said standing along side her partner Abby More.

These budding historians have been hard at work since the beginning of the school year.

“They get to pick a topic that they’re passionate about and really dig into it,” History Day State Coordinator Sarah Aschbrenner said. “So it takes history beyond a text book and brings it to life.”

There’s a lot of work behind these projects.

“They do their own historical research, they go to libraries they are online and offline, doing research on their topic,” Aschbrenner continued. “They’re finding actual historical evidence. Letters, dairies, photographs and they’re coming up with a really creative presentation category. It’s not just a paper, they get to do a performance or make a documentary. It’s something a little different than they are used to.”

The students take their work and apply it to this year’s theme: triumph and tragedy in history.

“And then they take that information and present it into five different categories,” Aschbrenner said.

The middle and high school students are judged not on the glitz and glam of the project, but rather the quality of research.

“The focus is really on the quality of research that they’ve done,” Aschbrenner said. “The historical argument that they’re making, the context, its not so much on the glitz and glamour. We’re really trying to encourage students to build critical thinking skills.”

All students hoping to advance in this competition.

“We are hoping to move forward,” Rodemeyer said. “We have a little thing going on where we say we’re crushing it.”

Dedicated to their presentations.

“I put in six hours alone last night,” Rodemeyer sighed.

Making sure history’s lessons are not forgotten.

“We need history to make sure we don’t make those same mistakes,” Rodemeyer said.

State qualifiers include:

Junior Individual Performance
“The Great Hunger” by Briar Daire from Rochester Central Lutheran School.

“The Kent State Massacre: A Protest to Remember” by Delaney Hermsen from Winona Middle School.

Junior Group Performance
“The 1983 Bombing at Lebanon Barracks” by Savannah Byron, Reagan Rath and Lydia Hamand from Byron Middle School.

“The Tragic Witch Hunt of 1692: A Dark Time for the People of Salem” by Greer Tiegen, Emily Bittner, Ellie Goemaat from Byron Middle School.

“The Battle of Blair Mountain” by Riley Larson, Nicholas Shulz from Winona Middle School.

“United Flight 93” by Molly Heinert, Brenna Borzyskowski and Gwenyth Buswell from Winona Middle School.

Senior Group Performance
“The Women Who Wrote their Rights” by  Mallory White, Chelsea Pierick, Jada Robinson and Alexandra Buresh from Kasson-Mantorville High School ISD #204.

“The Wright Brothers: Our Wrights to the World’s First Successful Airplane” by Grace Gora and  Nolan Gora from Schaeffer Academy.

Senior Individual Documentary
“For 13 Days the World Stood Still” by Haven Senjem from Kasson-Mantorville High School ISD #204.

“Fall of the Berlin Wall from a German Perspective” by Michelle Sauerborn from Schaeffer Academy.

Senior Group Documentary
“The Iranian Hostage Crisis: Adversity in the Middle East” Brady Zimmerman and Luke Bothun from Schaeffer Academy.

“Chinese Economic Reform after the Great Cultural Revolution” by Zihan Yang, Dongshi Zhang, Wei-Ting Liang and Bowen Tian from Cotter Schools.

“The Black Gazelle: Wilma Rudolph, an Activist, a Leader, a Champion” by Anne Orvis and Grace Larson from Schaeffer Academy.

Junior Individual Website
“Hormel P-9 Strike: Tragedy in a Union Workplace” by Aydan Tye from Byron Middle School.

“The Manhattan Project: The Tragic Triumph of Science” Brian Lujan from Byron Middle School.

“Bobbi Gibbs Runs Through Gender Discrimination” by Anna Gilmer from Winona Middle School.

“Mankato Hearings” by Max Uribe from Winona Middle School.

Junior Group Website
“Addressing the Tragedy of Inefficient Organ Allocation: The Triumph of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984” by Alexis Nelson and Calie Dockter from Byron Middle School.

“Middlings Purifier: A Triumph in the Minnesota Milling Industry” by Lauren Fjerstad, Anna Brennan and Paige Halder from Byron Middle School.

“Wilma Rudolph” by  Lauren Kimmerle, Miranda Lindaman, Lacey Kimmerle and Emma Johnston from Winona Middle School.

“Flood, Financing, and the Future: The Tragedy of Rochester’s Great Flood of 1978” by Lindsey Schultz and Sophia Mullenbach from Byron Middle School.

Junior Individual Exhibit
“Gray Wolf Tragedy: The Triumphant Fight to Bring Them Back” by Gabby Cornejo from Byron Middle School.

“Dorothy Haner: Winona’s First Female Investigator” by Olivia Berhow from Winona Middle School.

“The Salem Witch Trials” by Kayleigh Cottrell from Winona Middle School.

“A Woman’s Place is at Home Plate” by Claire Nelson from Friedell Middle School.

“The Triumphant Flight of the WASPS” by Lydia Gregory from Schaeffer Academy.

“Wilma Rudolph: From Tragedy to triumph, from Disability to Victory” by Geeta Ashrani from Friedell Middle School.

Junior Group Exhibit
“The Tragedy of Cancer: The Triumphant Invention of Chemotherapy” by Rylan Stotts and Addi Burmester from Byron Middle School.

“Mayo Clinic: The Triumphant and Continuous Improvement” by Abigail More and Ella Rodemeyer from Byron Middle School.

“Irish Immigration to America: Overcoming the Tragedy of the Irish Potato Famine” Kelly Amberg, Marissa Ellavsky, Ashlee Felten and Rylee Finney from Byron Middle School.

“Radium Girls: The Triumph and Tragedy of Working Conditions” by Anna Splinter and Cambelle Johnson from Byron Middle School.

“The Triumphant Ballot or the Tragic Bullet” by  Johanna Trondson and Allison Meier from Schaeffer Academy.

“The Birmingham Children’s Crusade” by Cleo Lohnes and Reagan Hoff from Winona Middle School.

Senior Individual Exhibit
“Of Coal and Royalty: A Maritime Disaster on the Thames” by Jenna Armentrout from Schaeffer Academy.

“La Cristiada” by Fatima Mota from Cotter Schools.

“Lindbergh: A Name Tied to Triumph and Tragedy in America” by Adam Rector from Schaeffer Academy.

“The Salem Witch Trials” by Julia Etbauer from Kasson-Mantorville High ISD #204.

Senior Group Exhibit
“Loving v. Virginia” by Paige Funke and Lauren Flickinger from Kasson-Mantorville High ISD #204.

“D-Day” by Maclyn Smith, Addy Bzoskie from Kasson-Mantorville High ISD #204.
State Qualifier The Liberation of Dachau Madelyn Converse, Abigail Zahn Kasson-Mantorville High ISD

After the state competition in May, about 40 students will represent Minnesota at the national competition in June.


Beret Leone

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