Students seek funding to attend national history competition

Published 11:51 am Thursday, May 9, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Two Lowndes County students have earned the right to compete in the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland on June 9, but they are in need of financial assistance to make the trip.

This is the fourth year in a row Lowndes County Public Schools students have earned the honor, and the Gifted and Talented Education Program for Lowndes County Public Schools is seeking financial support to help get them there.

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Paula G. Westmoreland, Gifted/Talented Education teacher for Lowndes County Public Schools, said the entry fee and lodging money are due by May 14 and the transportation money is due by the time of the event. She said Lowndes County Alabama History Day winners are Trinity Hardy from Hayneville Middle School and Orianna Gordon from Lowndes Middle School. Both, she said, placed first at the event held on April 5 at Auburn University at Montgomery.

Westmoreland said Hardy won first place in the individual historical performance category for her performance about Anna T. Jeanes, who donated $1 million in 1907 towards the education of African American students.

She said Gordon won first place for her documentary “Segregation-Separate But Equal?” about the Plessy v. Ferguson case, which gave legal standing to the idea of separate but equal which stood until 1954 when it was overturned with the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd reported on the accomplishment of Hardy and Gordon at the last meeting of the Lowndes County Board of Education.

“This year, we had four Gifted Education students participate in Alabama History Day, a statewide competition whose winners are selected to attend National History Day,” Westmoreland wrote in a letter seeking financial support for the National History Day trip.

“This contest is a nationally acclaimed, academic program designed to promote the study of history in our schools,” she said. “History Day is much like a science fair but with the projects focusing on history.”

Westmoreland said the students can present information in a variety of ways, including an exhibit board, writing a research paper, creating a website, filming a documentary or writing a historical performance.

Westmoreland said the students conducted interviews, explored books from the library and surveyed the Internet extensively for information.

She said two students wrote and performed individually, another student designed and created an exhibit board and one student wrote and produced a documentary. She also said each individual wrote a 500 word paper to illustrate the steps in creating their project and also put together an annotated bibliography to document their sources.

“So our students and I would like to travel to the NHD contest to represent Lowndes County and the state of Alabama,” Westmoreland wrote in the letter seeking financial support.

“However, each participant must pay his own way,” she continued. “For each student to be included there is an estimated cost of $650- $700.”

She said that in order to meet the deadlines and get the best prices available on travel and lodging, payment must begin immediately,

“I am asking Lowndes County leaders and businesses to help send these students to the competition,” Westmoreland wrote. “Being selected as national competitors for the fourth year in a row is really awesome!  Our school district and our community can be proud!   I truly appreciate your help with this.”

Those wishing to help should make a check or money order payable to: Central Elementary School. On the “For” line please write “Gifted Education (NHD Competition).” Mail to Paula Westmoreland, Central Elementary School, 141 Main St., Hayneville, AL 36040.