Bell students excel at national contest

Published 3:06 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dalton Lawson, Ethan Smith, Kenneth Treece and Chandler Widener — students at Bell Central School Center — competed in the National History Day Contest, held at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Washington, D.C. area, on June 10-14. They were awarded the American Labor History Award.

The American Labor Studies Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to collect, analyze, create and disseminate labor history and labor studies curricula and related materials. The American Labor Studies Center prize is awarded to an outstanding entry in any category that involves an aspect of American labor history.

This includes the role that individuals or labor organizations have played in American economic, political, legislative, social or cultural life.

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The 2018 theme for the contest was Conflict & Compromise in History. Lawson, Smith, Treece and Widener joined more than half a million students globally who completed projects in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website.

Lawson, Smith, Treece and Widener created a Junior Group Performance project titled “Bloody Harlan: Which Side are you on?” Their project depicted the coal strikes of Harlan in the 1930s. The project entailed several months of research, which accumulated over 300 primary and secondary sources cited in order to create the stage performance. Their coach is Mrs. Amanda Day.

“The work students put into these projects is astounding,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “To make it to the national contest is a remarkable achievement. Less than one percent of all projects make it to this level. It requires a superb level of research and critical thinking skills. I am confident we will continue to see great things from all of these students because the skills learned through competing in NHD help prepare students for success in college and career.”

After completing a project, students compete in a series of contests beginning at the local level. The top students in all 50 states, D.C., U.S. territories and international schools are given the opportunity to attend the national contest.

More than 300 historians and education professionals evaluate the students’ work at the national competition. Close to $150,000 in scholarships were awarded at the national awards ceremony and more than 100 students took home cash prizes between $250 and $1,000 for superior work in a particular category of judging.