Battle Ground students’ History Day projects win at state

Students were able to return to their classrooms just a week before the regional competition and snag a first place finish in the regional event

Even the theme of this year’s National History Day competition, “Communication in History: the Key to Understanding,” became a lesson in and of itself for Battle Ground’s History Day competitors. While Pleasant Valley Middle School eighth graders Kaylie O’Lear and Lilly Roman-Myers’ project focused on Cesar Chavez and the fight for workers’ rights, they also had to learn a lot about their own communication in the process.

“The project really tested me and Lilly’s friendship,” said O’Lear after presenting their display to the Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors at their May 24 meeting. “We had to learn to really communicate.”

Pleasant Valley Middle School eighth graders Lilly Roman-Myers (left) and Kaylie O'Lear give their Washington State National History Day presentation to the Battle Ground School Board on May 24. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Public Schools
Pleasant Valley Middle School eighth graders Lilly Roman-Myers (left) and Kaylie O’Lear give their Washington State National History Day presentation to the Battle Ground School Board on May 24. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Public Schools

What is normally a time-consuming and difficult process was made even more so by the difficulties of remote communication, the girls said. They were able to return to their classrooms just a week before the regional competition and snag a first place finish in the regional event.

“For them to do as well as they did, with the initiative and perseverance, parents dragging them back and forth to school,” said Rene Soohoo, who teaches history and English at Pleasant Valley Middle School and has advised students on History Day projects for three decades. “I really appreciate that.”

A total of 21 students from Pleasant Valley, Chief Umtuch Middle Schools and River HomeLink moved on from the Southwest Washington regional National History Day competition to the statewide round on May 1. The top two finishers in each category go on to the National History Day competition in June.

Several Battle Ground teams finished just outside of the top two. A third place finish can move on to the national competition if one of the top two teams is unable to compete.

This year’s winners are:

Pleasant Valley Middle School

Junior Division – Group Exhibit: 

3rd Place – Lilly Roman-Myers and Kaylie O’Lear: Cesar Chavez: Strikes, Fasts, and Boycotts to Empower the Powerless

Pleasant Valley Middle School students Kristina Goldinov (left) and Abby Dubinskiy pose with their National History Day exhibit on the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Public Schools
Pleasant Valley Middle School students Kristina Goldinov (left) and Abby Dubinskiy pose with their National History Day exhibit on the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Public Schools

4th Place – Kirstina Goldinov, Abigail Dubinskiy; Layla Segovia; Alissa Huynh: The March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama: How the March Shamed the U.S. in World Opinion and Led to the Passing of the 1965 Voting Rights Bill

Junior Division – Group Performance:

3rd Place – Kira Wilson and Amelia DeMoss:Clarity, Quantity, Focus: Key to Understanding How the Federalist Papers Convinced the States to Ratify the Constitution

E Vitus Campus Outstanding local history award:

Judah Bullock: “Miscommunications in Word and Deed: Key to Understanding the Nez Perce Tribe’s Century of Loss

Chief Umtuch Middle School

Group Documentary:

6th Place – Tova Orth and Ava Dhanens: “Radium Advertising and Industry in the 1900s

Chief Umtuch Middle School students Tova Orth (left) and Ava Dhanens finished sixth in the Washington History Day competition for their documentary on the use of radium in advertising. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Public Schools
Chief Umtuch Middle School students Tova Orth (left) and Ava Dhanens finished sixth in the Washington History Day competition for their documentary on the use of radium in advertising. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Public Schools

Soohoo also noted that both the Chavez and Selma exhibits were up against more than 20 projects from students across the state. Finishing first and third in the regional contest, then third and fourth in the statewide competition, is an amazing accomplishment for any student; especially in a year when communication could be exceptionally difficult.

A video of the May 1 virtual award ceremony is available on YouTube.

Information provided by Battle Ground Public Schools.

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