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Mississippi History Day 2020 Contest Held Online at USM

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 14:31pm | By: David Tisdale

With middle and high school students across the state unable to participate in multiple spring extracurricular activities cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus, event organizers worked overtime to ensure that the 2020 Mississippi History Day competition took place at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in Hattiesburg, transitioning the event from in-person to an online format. Appropriately, the theme for this year’s contest was “Breaking Barriers in History.”

Mississippi History Day is the state contest for National History Day, with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) serving as the sponsoring organization, and the USM School of Humanities as host. Its purpose is to teach students critical thinking, research, and writing skills, and instill in them a love of history and respect for informed and engaged citizenship. It is held annually in the spring on the USM Hattiesburg campus.

For the 2020 event, more than 100 students submitted entries for research paper and website, performance, exhibit, and documentary categories. Students representing eight schools participated, including those from Pascagoula High School; Lafayette High School; Gautier High School; Starkville High School; and Sacred Heart Catholic High School; and students from Colmer Middle School, Armstrong Middle School, and New Hope Christian School. A virtual awards ceremony was later hosted by the MDAH.

“What all involved were able to pull off for the virtual Mississippi History Day contest this year was nothing short of incredible,” said Al Wheat, director of education at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History who serves as state affiliate coordinator for Mississippi History Day. “For all the hardships this year presented, students, teachers, and everyone who had a part did an impeccable job to make MHD 2020 a rousing success.”

More than 50 contest facilitators and volunteers included staff members from the Mississippi Department of Archives and history, USM faculty member, USM history graduate students, and a group of community members who served as contest judges. MDAH staff members also served as judges.

“Although it took a great deal of time and energy from students, teachers, parents, judges, and School of Humanities administrative staff to transition to a virtual contest, the Mississippi History Day leadership team wanted to ensure that the students who have worked so hard all year long on their projects had their chance to shine,” said USM Associate Professor of History Dr. Rebecca Tuuri, who serves as state contest liaison.

“We could not be more proud of the projects that students from around Mississippi created for this event, and it's been a pleasure working with such a dedicated group of teachers. They are the heart and soul of MHD.”

Dr. Tuuri’s faculty colleague, Dr. Joshua Haynes, will succeed her as state contest liaison in 2021. “I'm excited to be moving into a new role working more closely with the fantastic teachers and students around the state who participate in Mississippi History Day,” Dr. Haynes said. “This year's virtual contest really made us all realize how important the event is, how passionate Mississippi teachers and students are. They urged us to go ahead with the state contest while other state contests around the country were cancelled. Folks are committed to this event, and I look forward to supporting it in the coming years.”

Winning entries included those in the following categories:

Junior Group Documentary

First place: “Chuck Yeager Breaking the Sound Barrier,” Lamonte Harris and Hayden Grenn, Colmer Middle School

Second place: “Attack on Pearl Harbor,” Josten Calix, Edwin Pena Zayas and Sterling Mota, Colmer Middle School

Third place: “The Long Forgotten Story of the Radium Girls,” Keilana Kalgren and Payton Harmon, Colmer Middle School

Senior Individual Documentary

First place: “Pretty, Pink, and Petite Patsy Mink: Breaking Down the Glass Barriers for Gender Equality in Education Through Title IX,” April Guo-Yue, Starkville High School

Second place: “The Vietnam War and Dr. James Bruce: Breaking Medical Barriers,” Samantha Rayburn, Lafayette High School

Third place: “Nixon’s Pink Pong Diplomacy,” Alan Meng, Starkville High School

Senior Group Documentary

First place: “Kathleen McIlwain,” Ruby Murray and Folsom Berry, Pascagoula High School

Second place: “Building a Cornucopia: How Agricultural Advancements led to the American Supermarket,” Amy Zhang, Jessica Yan, Andrew Yu, and Lyem Ningthou, Starkville High School

Third place: “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” Keaira Smith and Caitlyn Bush, Pascagoula High School

Junior Individual Exhibit

First place: “The Chicago Tylenol Murders,” Melany Carrasco, Colmer Middle School

Second place: “Breaking Barriers in Extragalactic Astronomy,” Kailyn Hyde, Colmer Middle School

Junior Group Exhibit

First place: “The Hidden Figures of NASA,” Arley Ochoa, Waiki Sanders, and Karma Young, Colmer Middle School

Second place: Breaking Technological Barriers with the DynaTac 8000x,” Landon Brown and Luke McDaniel, Colmer Middle School

Third place: “Alexander Fleming: Breaking Barriers with Penicillin,” Carley Grace Miller and Brooklyn Hughes, Colmer Middle School

Senior Individual Exhibit

First place: “Motown Records,” Margaret Corlew, Pascagoula High School

Second place: “Wonder Woman in Disguise--The First Congresswoman: Jeannette Rankin Breaking Capital Barriers,” Amanda Farrow, Lafayette High School

Third place: “Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock II: Breaking Barriers on the Battlefield and Defining the Marine Sniper,” Murphy Smith, Lafayette High School

Senior Group Exhibit

First place: “Mr. Civil Rights,” Sarah Kitchens, Brooke Estes, Pascagoula High School

Second place: “Sit Still, Look Pretty: Changing the Face of Murder,” Sophia Cuellar, Jackelyn Facio, and Carolyn Facio, Pascagoula High School

Third place: “Breaking the Psychological Barrier,” Kathryn Cousins, Clarissa Sanders, and Michael Scott, Pascagoula High School

Junior Group Performance

First place: “Launching through Barriers with Katherine Johnson,” Tessa Luke, Lila Counterman, Evie Daniels, and Rayven Davis, Armstrong Middle School

Second place: “African American Women Breaking Barrier At NASA Inspiring Girls To: Do The Math,” J'Lynn Grace, Maredith Lay, Aria Jones, Amiyah Taylor, and Calese White, New Hope Christian School

Senior Individual Performance

First place: “Patsy Mink: Breaking Barriers by Pushing for Equality for All,” Caitlyn Rhea

Second place: “Breaking Barriers in Extremism by Bankruptcy: Donald vs. The United Klans of America,” Kenaysia Stanton, Pascagoula High School

Senior Group Performance

First place: “The Emperor’s New Code,” Laney Birchfield, Perla Arellano, Tessa Cascio, and William (Liam) Jordan, Gautier High School

Second place: “Ida B. Wells,” Ja-lea Holmes and Tykeria Summers, Pascagoula High School

Junior Individual Website

First place: “Susan La Flesche: Breaking Barriers for Her People and Beyond,” Francie Tagert, Armstrong Middle School

Second place: “The Mind: Schizophrenia,” Mikayla Schuler, Colmer Middle School

Third place: “Breaking Barriers with the Jonestown Massacre,” Gavrielle Barrow, Colmer Middle School

Senior Individual Website

First place: “From Poverty to Pioneer: How Vivien Thomas Broke Racial and Medical Barriers,” Stephanie Kellum, Lafayette High School

Second place: “David Bowie: Weaving the Future and Breaking Cultural Barriers,” Haley Magee, Pascagoula High School

Third place: “The Tuskegee Syphilis Study,” Madison Jefferson, Pascagoula High School

Senior Group Website

First place: “Louis Armstrong: Musical and Racial Barriers,” Pascagoula High School

Second place: “No Room for Hate in Space,” Jake Nurkin, Brady Stafford, and Anna Rachel Krebs, Sacred Heart Catholic High School

Third place: “Nellie Bly's Journey to Helping Minorities and Breaking Stereotypes,” Neelie Daniels and Kristina Carney, Lafayette High School

Junior Paper

First place: “Breaking Barriers with Prince Edward and The British High Class During WWII,” Alejandro Valdovinos, Colmer Middle School

Senior Paper

First place: “The Court Case of Mendez v. Westminster: The Case that Dented the Pride of School Segregation,” Alondra Reyes, Pascagoula High School

Second place: “The Petticoat Barriers: Mrs. President’s Classified Administration,” Nadia Corder, Pascagoula High School

Third place: “Roe v. Wade: Breaking Legal Barriers for Women's Right to Privacy,” Allie Hartfield, Lafayette High School

Archival Award

“The Court Case of Mendez v. Westminster: The Case that Dented the Pride of School Segregation,” Alondra Reyes, Pascagoula High School

Oral History Award (Sponsored by the USM Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage)

“Kathleen McIlwain,” Ruby Murray and Folsom Berry, Pascagoula High School

Honorable Mention: “Breaking the Barrier between Science and Public Influence on Policies: Saving the Ozone,” Hyeona (Claire) Lim, Mirea Lee Nishikawa, and Sachi Clay, Armstrong Middle School

Maritime Award (Sponsored by the National Maritime Historical Society)

“Attack on Pearl Harbor,” Josten Calix, Edwin Pena Zayas, and Sterling Mota, Colmer Middle School

Gulf South History Award (Sponsored by the USM Center for the Study of the Gulf South)

“The Tuskegee Syphilis Study,” Madison Jefferson, Pascagoula High School

Honorable Mention: “Free State of Jones,” Jermaine Patterson and Hayden Portwine, Pascagoula High School

War and Society Award (Sponsored by the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society)

“Chuck Yeager Breaking the Sound Barrier,” Lamonte Harris and Hayden Grenn, Colmer Middle School

Honorable Mention: “Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock II: Breaking Barriers on the Battlefield and Defining the Marine Sniper,” Murphy Smith, Lafayette High School

Women's and Gender History Award (Sponsored by Interdisciplinary Studies at USM)

“David Bowie: Weaving the Future and Breaking Cultural Barriers / How a blonde starman dressed the world in androgyny, unconventionalism, and glitter,” Haley Magee, Pascagoula High School

Honorable Mention: “The Petticoat Barriers: Mrs. President’s Classified Administration,” Nadia Corner, Pascagola High School

Black History Award (Sponsored by Interdisciplinary Studies at USM)

“March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” Keaira Smith and Caitlyn Bush, Pascagoula High School

Honorable Mention: “Breaking Barriers in Extremism by Bankruptcy: Donald vs. The United Klans of America,” Kenaysia Stanton, Pascagoula High School

Honorable Mention: “Mr. Civil Rights,” Sarah Kitchens, Brooke Estes, Pascagoula High School

Women's Suffrage Award (Sponsored by the 2020 Women's Vote Centennial)

First place: “Wonder Woman in Disguise--The First Congresswoman: Jeannette Rankin Breaking Capital Barriers,” Amanda Farrow, Lafayette High School

Second place: “The Legacy Left by Alice Paul,” Julianysse Torres, Gautier High School

For more information about Mississippi History Day, visit http://www.mdah.ms.gov/new/learn/teachers/mississippi-history-day/.