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Making history

Brant&Myers place eighth in the nation at competition in Washington

June 20, 2018
Jean Herrick - ELC History Day advisor , Estherville News

From June 10-14, Estherville Lincoln Central students Cora Brant and Taylor Myers competed at National History Day in Washington, D.C. However, NHD is not limited to students in the United States,. Students attended from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia.

According to the National Endowment of the Arts, more than a half million middle and high school students participate annually. As a participant, students choose a topic relating to the annual theme, apply critical thinking skills, conduct research using primary and secondary sources, analyze and interpret those sources, and create a project to present their findings in a creative way.

Cora and Taylor placed eighth in the D.C. competition with their Senior Group Performance entitled 'Button Button: Conflict and Compromise in Muscatine, Iowa.' Their performance centered around the Muscatine Button Strike of 1911.

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The Muscatine Button Strike focused on the labor conflicts of workplace injuries, wages, and unionization. The companies compromised after 16 months of strike with increasing the wages and with reinstating workers despite their unionization. As a direct impact of the Muscatine Button Factory Strike, in 1912, a commissioner was created at the state level to investigate the labor conditions in the entire state of Iowa, Iowa passed their first Workers Compensation Act in 1913 to protect injured workers, and legislators initiated a bill in 1914 to prohibit employment of female labor for more than 10 hours in one day or for more than fifty-four hours each week.

Myers said, "I thought that it was very interesting that factory owners would pay for and also keep workers fingers and eyeballs in jars within the factory. It was a really good experience to be able to visit the Button Factory in Muscatine. I think that the most fun part of History Day is being able to go to the different competitions."

Brant added, "The most interesting thing I learned about our topic was the terrible working conditions. This included our favorite prop, the fingers and the eyeballs. The most interesting person Taylor and I interviewed for our project was Director Mary Wildermuth of the Muscatine History and Industry Center. She allowed for us to see many letters and resources from the time, and she gave us insight into Pearl McGill's life in the factory. The most fun part of History Day is the competitions because we all get to hang out and it's cool since we all get to support each other. I learned that it is harder to work in a group than by yourself, but it all worked out pretty well for us in the end. "

In order to qualify to compete in D.C., Cora and Taylor initially competed at the state competition in Des Moines and placed in the top two of the Senior Group Performance category.

An additional five other students from Estherville Lincoln Central also competed in Des Moines and received high rankings. Vanessa Vedder competed in the category of Senior Individual Documentary and finished in fourth place. Savannah Dare competed in the category of Senior Individual Performance and finished in third place. Kai Li Dong, Quimby Ross, and Leah Williams competed in the category of Junior Group Website and finished in third place.

Dong said, "An interesting thing I learned in general was how to conduct an interview with someone with whom I had no personal connections and write and ask them questions that had a basis on facts. I learned how to work in a group of people who want to help with the project we are working on. I am a person who likes to be in charge of a project. When I work in groups in school, I am usually leading and in charge. In working with a group of friends who also like to be in charge, I learned how to be better at stepping back and letting others do their part while I did mine."

Dare added, "The most fun I had during History Day was being able to sit down with Mrs. Herrick and work on my project. Being able to experience what History Day is like during districts and state was tons of fun too! An important thing I learned from History day was how to be a better writer. I am now able to cite my sources correctly also. This I can carry with me for the rest of my life. "

All of this year's National History Day participants will be back next year. Vedder, and Dare will be seniors, Myers and Brant will be juniors, and the junior group trio will be in the eighth grade.

 
 
 

 

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