Reduced participation didn’t hurt the positive results for Sequim middle-schoolers at the Regional History Day Competition on March 21 in Bremerton.
Fifteen Sequim Middle School students won top awards for their projects with the theme “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures and Consequences.”
They are invited to the state competition in Bellevue on May 7.
Alexandra Stuart-Lovell, Katie Stevenson and team of Donika Hulls and Emma LaBlanc won first in their respective categories — historical paper, performance and group exhibit.
Five students won second place and three students won third place. The number of students who move on to state in each category depends on the total number of entries.
Tricia Billes, middle-school teacher and Public Broadcasting System’s Teacher of Merit, said she believes some of her students will make the June national competition in Washington, D.C., at the University of Maryland.
“These are amazing projects,” Billes said.
Todd Beuke, middle-school teacher and History Day helper, agreed with Billes’ sentiment.
“It’s another year of the same level of excellence,” he said.
Last year 49 students went to regionals and three eighth-graders, Wesley Gilchrist, Bill Koenig and James Reis, to nationals. All of the seventh and eighth grades participated in History Day, making the chance to advance higher.
Billes said a change in class hours and new state requirements limited the numbers this year to 34 from her Challenge Class and History Day Club.
“It’s a shame the whole school can’t do it,” she said.
However, students’ dedication and passion for their subjects didn’t dwindle.
“Some kids are really motivated by History Day. It inspires them,” Billes said.
“From looking at a board you can’t see how much research they put into it. They are only allowed 500 words on a board but most bibliographies are 10 pages long. This isn’t just Internet research but they read a lot of books.”
She said students became resourceful and dug deep to find primary sources for their topics.
“Quite a few have gotten primary sources by directly contacting authors,” Billes said.
Between now and the state competition, students will continue researching and perfecting their projects. Billes recommends readers with personal experience or knowledge in the students’ topics contact the school at 582-3500.
Sequim students who placed are as follows:
• Bernadette Dalm won fifth place for her individual performance on Rachel Carson.