History Day winners recognized in U.S. House

The names of three students from Elk River will be forever etched on record in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sarah Merkling, Jenna Olawsky and Elizabeth Rumreich joined nearly 3,000 students from all over the world to participate in the annual National History Day Contest in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Michelle Bacmann read their accomplishment into the record earlier this year before connecting with the trio Monday in St. Micheal at a groundbreaking ceremony for an additional lane on Interstate 94.

Merkling, Olawsky and Rumreich represented Minnesota after winning first place in the Junior Division (middle school) in the Performance Category.

“These three girls just completed sixth grade, which is the first year of eligibility for the competition,” Bachmann state on the House floor. “By winning first at the state level, they outperformed over 300 other sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teams from around the state.”

Their performance, “Canoes and Controversy: Paddling Through the Environmental Movement in Minnesota,” addressed the different sentiments surrounding the Boundary Waters Canoe Area as seen through the eyes of an environmentalist, a businessman and a news reporter from 1927 through today.

Bachmann asked Speaker of the House John Boehner and the House of Representatives to join her in honoring the three for representing “Minnesota’s rich history and heritage and for setting such a great academic example.”