Knox County students know their history

Susan ArpOur Town Kids, Our Town Teens

The 18th annual East Tennessee History Day Regional Competition brought out the winning side of Knox County students, with 56 of them winning special awards or taking first, second or third place. First- and second-place winners will advance to the state competition, Tennessee History Day, with third-place serving as alternates.

Tennessee History Day will be April 13 in Nashville. State winners go to the nationals in College Park, Md., for competition June 9-13.

The East Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee Department of History co-sponsored ETHD on March 1 in Knoxville.

“East Tennessee students consistently do well in this competition,” says Lisa Oakley, ETHS curator of education and ETHD regional coordinator. “Three ETHD winners have placed first in the nation, plus several placing second and third and many more finishing in the national top 12 for their category.”

About 3,500 students competed at the basic school level in the East Tennessee Region. An estimated 750,000 students nationally compete at the basic level. This year’s regional saw 324 middle and high school students participating from 28 public schools plus a number of private and home schools in Anderson, Blount, Cumberland, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Scott and Sevier counties.

National History Day is the leading program for history education. This year’s broad theme was “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Students select a topic related to the annual theme and then choose to present their research through a website, documentary, paper, exhibit or performance. Through research and interpreting their findings into a sound argument, these middle and high school students learn the priceless skills of an historian – critical thinking, research and the value of primary sources.

For a full list of 2019 ETHD winners, click here.

Knox County Winners

Junior Division (middle school)

Bearden Middle School, Maureen Schenk (teacher)

  • Hannah Hill, Katie Wilhoit, Lucia Gordon and Alana Johnson: second place, Group Performance category, with their entry “Winter at Valley Forge.”
  • Elle Prince and Izabella Maestroiani: first place, Group Website, “Joan of Arc.”
  • Emma Hubbard: third place, Individual Documentary, “Women’s Suffrage.”

Oak Grove Homeschool Cooperative, Aimee Ward (teacher)

  • Annabelle Lesch, Syler Lindsey, Savannah Ward and Samuel Ward: second place, Group Exhibit, “The Clinton 12.” The group also won the Randy and Jenny Boyd East Tennessee History Award.

St. John Neumann Catholic School, Michele Tarricone (teacher)

  • Paul Liulevicius, Anthony Montgomery and Ryan Preston: second place, Group Documentary, “The Sultana Disaster: From Triumph to Tragedy to Triumph Again.” The entry placed first for the Best Project in Civil War Era History Award.
  • Sophia Collins, Alex Latham and Jack Acord: third place, Group Documentary, “The Triumph and Tragedy of The Treaty of Versailles.”
  • Julia Angerer and Keira McConville: second place, Group Website, “Triumph and Tragedy of the Atomic Bomb.”
  • Molly Fricks: second place, Individual Exhibit, “Navajo Code Talkers.”
  • James Long: third place, Individual Paper “The Legacy of the Mongols: The Triumph of Culture and the Tragedy of Bloodshed.”
  • Sarah Allen: second place, Individual Performance “The Titanic Tragedy.”

St. Joseph School, Wendy Waxmonsky (teacher)

  • Dagan Haunhorst: third place, Individual Performance, “Julius Caesar.”
  • Sarah McLean: second place, Individual Documentary, “Oh Rats, It’s the Plague.”

STEM Co-op, Allison Elder (teacher)

  • Ethan Elder: first place, Individual Performance, “Elvis Presley, The Rise and Fall of a Legend.”

 West Valley Middle School, Karen Peterman (teacher)

  • Stephanie Cho: first place, Individual Paper, “The Tragedies and Triumphs of the Gwangju Uprising in South Korea.”


Senior Division (high school)

 Berean Christian High School Isp, Sharon Thompson (teacher)

  • Eli Thompson: first place, Individual Documentary, “The Secret City’s Deadly Secret.”

Farragut High School, Angela Breeding (teacher)

  • Varsha Babu, Ariane Burt, Ashley Dai and Alice Zhang: first place, Group Website “Down in New Orleans: The New Orleans School Crisis of the 1960s.”
  • Jiarui Han, Yuxuan Zhang and Claudia Levi: second place, Group Website, “The Scilly Naval Disaster of 1707: The Tragedy That Revolutionized Sea Navigation.”
  • Katherine Chen: second place, Individual Documentary, “Guernica: Between the Canvas and the Catastrophe.” She also received the Dan and Mary Shannon Award, First in Senior Division.
  • Rena Liu: second place, Individual Paper, “The My Lai Massacre: The Tragedy and Its Triumphs.”
  • Forest Chen: third place, Individual Paper “1949: The Great Awakening.”

 L&N STEM Academy, Karen Standish, Jill Robbins and Derek Griffin (teachers)

  • Sarah Ahmed, Cristine Chen and Simone Friedman: third place, Group Documentary, “L&N Railroad: The Tumultuous Ride to Growth.”
  • John Humphrey, Pilar Huerta, Elizabeth Moody, Lisha Patel and Jaeden Jenkins: first place, Group Performance, “The Lost State of Franklin.”
  • Nicholas Ojeda, Daniel Richter, Ahmed Boshnag and Mohamed Boshnag: third place, Group Performance, “The Battle of Shiloh.”
  • Ian Rainey: second place, Individual Exhibit, “Apollo 1.”
  • Reece Brown: first place, Individual Performance, “Le Fantôme de Olympe: The Enlightenment and the Terror.”
  • Olivia Sharp: second place, Individual Website, “Holding Back the Waters: The Tennessee Valley Authority Act.”
  • Jared Watkins: the Dan and Mary Shannon Primary Sources Award; second in Senior Division for “Founding Sevierville: The Brabson Family.” This entry also received second place, Best Project in Civil War Era History Award.

 West High School, Alveta Summers, Buzz McNish (teachers)

  • Lillian Southerland and Charlotte Hughes: third place, Group Exhibit “The Korean War: How U.S. Involvement Shaped the Direction of Korea.”
  • Jack Lynch: third place, Individual Documentary, “Songs of the Civil Rights Movement.”
  • Callie Coulter: third place, Individual Website, “1912 Nashville 8th Avenue Water Reservoir Rupture.”

Susan Arp is development consultant for the East TN Historical Society

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