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1,200 students compete for special awards, chance to move forward to National Hi...

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1,200 students compete for special awards, chance to move forward to National Hi...

1,200 students compete for special awards, chance to move forward to National History Day

SPRINGFIELD – Dozens of Illinois students advanced to the National History Day competition after presenting research papers, exhibits, documentaries and more at the state’s annual History Expo, where Carbondale Middle School and teacher Betsy Brown were honored with the Governor’s Award for excellence in teaching history.

In addition, Chicago’s Decatur Classical School was named the National History Day Illinois School of the Year.

More than 20 students won special awards for their work on such topics as labor history, the courts and African-Americans in Illinois.

“These students demonstrated a tremendous amount of hard work and creativity,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “Their parents and teachers – and the whole state of Illinois, for that matter – should be proud of them.”

Approximately 1,200 students competed in the Illinois History Expo on May 7. They qualified for the state event by taking part in regional history fairs. Illinois began sponsoring a student history contest some 60 years ago. It began with research papers, and exhibits were added to the contest about 10 years later.

Today, students also display their creativity and knowledge of history by producing documentaries, building websites and creating original performances.

Students who researched qualifying topics and scored high enough at the Illinois History Expo now move on to the national competition, which begins June 14 just outside Washington, D.C.

"The History Expo proves that Illinois has wonderful students and a rich heritage. Put them together and you get truly impressive results," said Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The expo is presented by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in partnership with the Chicago Metro History Education Center. Photos are available via Dropbox at

The special awards and the winners are:

Abraham Lincoln Association Award:

- Amoroso Parker, Quest Academy, Palatine, for the research paper “Abraham Lincoln: How His Leadership and Ingenuity Led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Legacy of a Free America.”

Elijah Lovejoy Award, Illinois Press Association:

- Lydia Taylor, Belleville West High School, Belleville, for the research paper “The Influence of Muckrakers in Illinois.”

Governor's Award:

- Carbondale Middle School, Carbondale

National History Day Illinois School of the Year:

- Decatur Classical School, Chicago

Margaret Anne Petty Genealogical/Family History Award:

- Katie Steimel, St. Mary Catholic School, DeKalb, for the website “Making Pianos in DeKalb: How One Factory Influenced a City and an Industry”

Illinois and Michigan Canal Award:

- Oscar Serratos, Oglesby Washington School, Oglesby, for the exhibit “The I & M Canal Changing History

Illinois Labor History Society Award:

- Olivia Fergus Brummer, Lane Tech Academic Center, Chicago, for a performance of “The Most Dangerous Women In America: Why the Leadership and Legacy of Mother Jones Sparked a Labor Rights Revolution”

- Steven Li, Thomas Schluckbier and Rajat Mittal, Mead Junior High School, Elk Grove Village, for their documentary “From Sleeping Car Porters to Civil Rights Activist”

- Emily Neis and Lauren Sands of Catherine Cook School, Chicago, for the exhibit “Agnes Nestor: Working Women’s Best Friend”

- Zachary Robbins, Lindblom Academic Center, Chicago, for the exhibit “A Legacy of Protection: The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967”

Illinois Society Colonial Dames XVII Century Award:

- Cassandra Bean, Tri-Valley Middle School, Downs, for the exhibit “Dickson Mounds”

Illinois State Organization, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Award:

- Ty Lane, Norris City Omaha Elementary School, Norris City, for the exhibit “Fort Massac”

Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission Award:

- Allison Cavallo, Hannah Hansraj, Kayla Huang, Ayana Loyd and Luke Peng, Whitney Young Academic Center, Chicago, for their exhibit “Legacy of a Lawsuit: The Gautreaux Case and the Transformation of Public Housing in Chicago”

Old State Capitol Award for African-American History Research Paper:

- Emma Byrd and Aditi Kumar, Unity Point School, Carbondale, for the website: “Emmett Till: Death of an Innocent”

Old State Capitol Award for Women's History Research Paper:

- Jasmine Orozco, Ana Campa and Alondra Pena, Solorio Academy High School, Chicago, for the website “Mary Thompson and the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children”

The students advancing to National History Day are:

Junior Paper

- John Blalack, Lane Tech Academic Center, Chicago, “From Prairie to Metropolis: How the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad Spurred Chicago Onward”

- Ethan Parham, Mead Junior High School, Elk Grove Village, “How to Take your Hospital on the Road”

Senior Paper

- Allison Colaianni, Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, “Albert Lasker: The Father of Modern Advertising”

- Simone Wallk, Payton College Prep High School, Chicago, “Redefining Politics: Jane Addams and the Pacifist-Suffragists”

Junior Individual Website

- Shira Friedman-Parks, Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, Chicago, “It's Not Easy Being Clean: The Legacy of Josephine Cochran”

- Hunter Bennett, Kenwood Academic Center, Chicago, “Justice, Not Political Expediency”

Junior Group Website

- Aarushi Verma, and Sara Gregg, Quest Academy, Palatine, “Jane Addams: How She Led Immigrants to a Better Life”

- Loretto Crofton, Aaliyah Taylor, Elizabeth Johns, Phillip Sanders, and Yaritzel Carlos, Whitney Young Academic Center, Chicago, “Making a Killing”

Senior Individual Website

- Eva Lewis, Payton College Prep High School, Chicago, “Roosevelt College: A Leader in Democratic Education”

- Daniel Alviar, Prosser Career Academy, Chicago, “Fall of Anarchism”

Senior Group Website

- Rachel Sitt, Irena Gao, and Ethan Nicklow, Carbondale Community High School, Carbondale, “Pioneering Equality: Edward Cole and the Defense of Freedom”

- Karly Greenfield and Jennifer Goodfriend, Niles North High School, Skokie, “Rats, Filth, Sewage, and the Second City”

Junior Individual Exhibit

- Luna Johnston, Decatur Classical School, Chicago, “Save Our Great Lakes: Leading a Wave of Chicago”

- Ben Heuertz, Immanuel Lutheran School, Palatine, “Free Frank McWorter: From Slave to Leader”

Junior Group Exhibit

- Samantha Ernst, Annika Brand, Rosemary Mascarenhas, and Parita Shah, Mead Junior High School, Elk Grove Village, “Fighting for Freedom”

- Allison Cavallo, Kayla Huang, Hannah Hansraj, Ayana Loyd, Luke Peng, Whitney Young Academic Center, Chicago, “Legacy of a Lawsuit”

Senior Individual Exhibit

- Stephanie Hernandez, Roosevelt High School, Chicago, “Assistance Across an Ocean: Chicago's Anti-Apartheid Movement”

- Laila Sauer, Evanston Township High School, Evanston, “Jens Jensen: Parks and Preservation”

Senior Group Exhibit

- Jillian Troxell and Haley Wedge, Maine West High School, Des Plaines, “Clarence Darrow: Putting Capital Punishment to Death”

- Kathryn Moran and Claire Goldman, Payton College Prep High School, Chicago, “The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Jane Addams”

Junior Individual Documentary

- Charlie Leversha, Catherine Cook School, Chicago, “The Black Panthers Leaders of Freedom”

- Lena Brün, Lane Tech Academic Center, Chicago, “Herbert Brün's World of Sound: How a Composer Advanced Musical Science”

Junior Group Documentary

- Steven Li, Rajat Mittal, and Tom Schluckbier, Mead Junior High School, Elk Grove Village, “From Pullman Porters to Civil Rights Activists”

- Jeremy Nohel, Alexandria Burr, Joey Padmanabhan, and Graham Mauer, Whitney Young Academic Center, Chicago, “Students for a Democratic Society: Leading a Cultural Revolution”

Senior Individual Documentary

- Caroline Caruso, Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, “Pride of Chicago: Marlin Perkins and the Lincoln Park Zoo”

- Rose Jacobs, Payton College Prep High School, Chicago, “The Thrill is Never Gone: The Legacy of the Bronzeville Blues”

Senior Group Documentary

- Erik Strand, Brian Strand, and Joaquin Miranda, East Aurora High School, Aurora, “Muddy Waters and Chicago Blues”

- Mayra Rios and Cynthia Ramos, East Aurora High School, Aurora, “Virginia Ohlson: The Revolutionary Nurse”

Junior Individual Performance

- Kathleen Ellsworth, Whitney Young Academic Center, Chicago, “Personal Liberty: The Heroic Battle of Elizabeth Packard”

- Nicholas Kapp, Edison Regional Gifted Center, Chicago, “Something from Nothing: Improv and the Legacy of Viola Spolin”

Junior Group Performance

- Carmen Russo and Kylie Measimer, Carbondale Middle School, Carbondale, “Music, Magic, and Madness: Showboats on the Mississippi”

- Gabriela Benyas, Katie Martin, and Kylee Korando, Carbondale Middle School, Carbondale, “Walgreens: Leaders in Change, at the Corner of Happy and Healthy”

Senior Individual Performance

- Jessica Rivest, Grayslake North High School, Grayslake, “Emma Goldman: Anarchist Leader with an Ever-Changing Legacy”

- Robert Brumer, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, “Public Enemy #1: The Life and Legacy of John Dillinger”

Senior Group Performance

- Anastasiya Pentya, Roman Ahmed, Roberta Cacuci-Simionas, and Rachel Miller, Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, “Lenny Bruce In His Own Words: His Controversial Leadership and Legacy”

- Ilana Dutton, Sophia Fioramonti-Gorchow, Olivia Perozo, and Sarah Pan, University of Chicago Lab Schools High School, Chicago, “The Mystique Critique (or The Illinois Women's Sphere)”

History Expo 2015
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