For the fourth year in a row, a student from the Elk River Area School District has advanced to the National History Day competition in Washington, D.C. This year it was Isabella Krueger, a freshman at Elk River High School, who is no stranger to the national competition, having advanced in 2015 as a seventh-grade student from Salk Middle School.
“She did History Day this year not as part of a class, but all on her own. It’s a testament to her abilities as a writer and researcher, but also to everything she learned at Salk,” said her former teacher Ron Hustvedt, who is also her History Day adviser. Krueger participated in the national contest this June in Washington, D.C., at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Advancing to the state level of competition is tough to do, but Salk was once again well-represented with 33 students qualifying for the event, held at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
“We bring all the students to the campus in January to conduct research, so it’s always neat for them to come back again in the spring as competitors,” Hustvedt said.
This year’s theme was “Taking A Stand in History,” and Krueger wrote a paper about Dr. Jane Hodgson, a Minnesota doctor who fought for women’s rights and succeeded in being part of two landmark Supreme Court cases.
The highest performing group of middle school students from Salk was the eighth-grade performance team of Lucy Leither and Lindsay Strecker. They took fourth place in the junior group performance category with a play they wrote about Irena Sendler and her role in taking a stand against anti-semitism and the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Four students walked away from the state competition with cash prizes for their topics from various statewide organizations. Seventh-grader Jack Flahaven’s documentary on the 1934 trucker’s strike in Minneapolis earned him $100 from the Minneapolis Labor Review, St. Paul Union Advocate and University of Minnesota Labor Education Service. Seventh-grader Annika Wozney’s exhibit board on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness earned her $100 from the Minnesota Historical Society for creating the Best Minnesota History project. Eighth-grade Bennett Jordan’s performance about Carl Jung earned him $100 for best project on the History of Europe Before 1914 from Steven Potach and Judith Horn.
Krueger also received $200 from Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society for the Best Use of Minnesota Historical Society Collections. The bibliography for her project utilized more than 60 sources from the MHS collections and her paper will become part of a special collection for her topic at the Historical Society.
“I spent a lot of time looking through the collections at the Historical Society in St. Paul, so this was a nice recognition of all that research,” Krueger said.
Salk’s History Day teachers include Hustvedt, Scott Glew, Maranda Cameron, Starrsha Wolff and Bill Honek, who is retiring at the end of this school year.
“Mr. Honek has been an integral part of our successful Social Studies program at Salk and our History Day program that has become one of the strongest in the country,” Hustvedt said.
Students first selected their topics in the fall and then dug into numerous primary and secondary sources throughout the winter. In January they visited the University of Minnesota’s Wilson Library to conduct college-level research and select the method they will communicate their learning to the public. Students can write a 10-minute performance they star in, create a 10-minute documentary, write a 2,500 word paper, create a museum display or create a fully interactive website. Each project is organized around a thesis statement and students create annotated bibliographies demonstrating extensive research, often with 30 or more reliable sources.
The 2018 theme is Conflict and Compromise in History and students grades six through 12 in the community are invited to participate if they are interested. For details, contact Salk’s History Day coordinator, Hustvedt, at [email protected] or visit the Salk History Day website at www.RonHustvedt.com.