The Lawrence tradition continues.
Eight Lawrence students - five from Central Junior High School and three from Lawrence High - have qualified to compete in the National History Day in June at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
The students advanced after last weekend's Kansas History Day competition in Topeka, where 55 Kansas students qualified for the national event. The theme for this year is "conflict and compromise," and teachers Christine Conner, of Central, and Michael Ortmann, of LHS, have helped the students.
Sophie Tate and Sophie Laufer, Central Junior High seventh-graders; second place for a junior group exhibit
They found a wealth of information in Lawrence and Topeka about a landmark school segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education.
"We told more of an under story," Tate said.
They created a miniature schoolhouse and displayed their research about the complex case - not only the racial tensions surrounding it but also how blacks also came down on both sides of the issue.
Nora Byers, Central eighth-grader; second place for a junior individual documentary
Bella Abzug faced trials in her first days of Congress in 1971 as an anti-war activist and supporter of women's rights.
Byers created a documentary based on Abzug's time in Congress, including her disagreements with President Nixon.
"I learned to be determined because there's no way to get it if you aren't," Byers said.
Grace Bova and Grace Clark, Central ninth-graders; first place for a senior group exhibit
The two junior high musicians wanted to explore the racial tensions in the world of jazz. So they interviewed area music enthusiasts and historians.
"You can read stuff in a book, but when they tell you, it's very personal," Bova said.
The pair created a display to depict their interviews and resources about racial conflict in jazz.
They also earned a $200 scholarship from the Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum.
Rachel Van Horn, Lawrence High senior; second place for a senior individual exhibit
To depict the struggles in Europe during the Cold War, Van Horn looked to display the complexities in Czechoslovakia, the attempted democratic reforms and eventual invasion of Prague by the Soviet Union.
"There's a lot of connections going on today with the involvement of youth. A lot of democratic reforms are still going on today," she said.
Kristen Gish, LHS junior; first place for a senior individual performance
Gish worked to portray Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. House, who was also known as the only member of Congress to vote against entering both World Wars.
Rankin was also known for her woman's suffrage efforts, but her stand on pacifism piqued Gish's interests.
"I really hope that some day I will be able to have as much courage as that woman," Gish said.
Carina Fowler, LHS junior; second place for a senior individual performance
As she pored over many old newspapers on microfilm to find quotes by women's suffrage activist Alice Paul, Fowler was struck by the importance of Paul's work.
"We would really be far behind. I don't think we would have achieved that yet," Fowler said.
Fowler's success also brought a difficult choice because she has also qualified for the forensics nationals the same day in Las Vegas.
She won't be able to compete in the National History Day competition because she mailed her forensics entry form before she knew about her qualification for history day.