Pleasant Valley Students Head to Nationals for History Day Finals

posted May 7, 2014, 3:33 PM by BGPS Web   [ updated May 9, 2014, 10:28 AM ]

Pleasant Valley Students Head to Nationals for History Day Finals 

May 7, 2014 - News Release

Battle Ground, WA – Four Pleasant Valley Middle School eight grade students brought home first place finishes in the Washington State History Day competition on May 3. Ally Orr, Jethro Abatayo, Logan Gibert, and Simon Benko (pictured right) will advance to the national contest held at the University of Maryland at College Park on June 15, 2014. “The students have done an outstanding job of getting primary sources, proving their theses, and preparing for the judges’ interviews,” said Irene Soohoo, Pleasant Valley Middle School history teacher. “To have that high level of scholarship rewarded and get to compete against the best in the nation (and world) is a fantastic honor.” 

National History Day is a year-long education program that culminates at the national contest each June. More than half a million students from across the country in grades 6-12 participate in the process by researching and presenting historical topics. This year’s theme is, “Rights and Responsibilities in History.” Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, and research papers. The projects are evaluated on a regional, state and national level. Students go well beyond a simple internet search for their projects. Jethro Abatayo traveled across the country to interview two prisoners of war for his project, “Vietnam War Prisoners of War: Taking Responsibility When Deprived of All Rights.” This will be Jethro’s second time competing at the national level and the first time for his project partner, Logan Gibert.  Ally Orr’s exhibit on the problems of Hanford nuclear waste was chosen to represent Washington State at the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington, D.C. Simon interviewed the subjects of his performance, Billy Frank, Jr. and Joel Boynton, all the more poignant since Mr. Frank passed away Monday. Simon also just received confirmation of an interview with former governor Daniel Evans, governor in 1974.

Battle Ground Public Schools has participated in the History Day competitions since 1993 and continues the legacy of winning entries. For more information on National History Day please visit their website 

Washington State Winners, May 3, 2014 – Battle Ground Public Schools
First Place Winners:
  • Junior Individual Exhibit - Ally Orr. “Hanford Nuclear Waste 1943-2014: Seventy-one Years of Denial and Delay, a Disaster Waiting to Happen”
  • Junior Group Documentary - Jethro Abatayo, Logan Gibert. “Vietnam War Prisoners of War: Taking Responsibility When Deprived of All Rights”
  • Junior Individual Performance - Simon Benko. “Fish-ins: Non-violent Protests to Restore Native American Fishing Rights”
Special Award Winners
  • Temple of Justice Award: Mary Lynn McLeod, Bailey McCormick won this award for their junior group performance: “Kip Kinkel, Juvenile Killer: Gun Rights v Parental Responsibilities”
  • Lyle L. Nelson Research Award: Jethro Abatayo and Logan Gibert won this award for their project related to naval history.
  • Washington State Archivists’ Award: Simon Benko won this award for his outstanding use of documents from the state archives.
Finalists in their category:
  • 5th place - Junior Group Exhibit: Donovan Benko, Lauren Blechschmidt, Lilly Perrin. “The Eruption of Mount St. Helens 1980: Property Rights v Government Agencies’ Responsibilities”
  • 6th place - Junior Group Performance: Mary Lynn McLeod, Bailey McCormick. “Kip Kinkel, Juvenile Killer: Gun Rights v Parental Responsibility”
  • 7th place- Junior Individual Exhibit: Alec Thornburg. “Hitler Youth, Japanese Internment, Civilian Public Service: Comparing and Contrasting Rights and Responsibilities during World War II”
Rated Excellent 
  • Emily Scott and Sarah Shirley “Mandatory Vaccination v Anti-vaccination: Public Health v Personal Responsibility”

May 7, 2014, 3:33 PM