Cotter students compete at History Day at U. of M.

Six Cotter students advanced to the state level competition of History Day held a the University of Minnesota on Saturday, April 29.
The group adviser is Mrs. Stevenson.  Each student, or group of students chooses a topic, researches it and creates a presentation.
“Cotter has been doing History Day for three years. This was a student-initiated group–with two students wanting to participate and finding a teacher sponsor,” Mrs. Stevenson said.
Cotter teacher Maggie O’Keefe started offering History Day after receiving a suggestion from Cotter parent Laurie Ziliak.
“I took over History Day last year after Ms. O’Keefe left. I was often interested in History Day because it allows students to explore the world around them and topics they might not have a chance to study in depth in school. It allows students to be creative, analytical, work on public speaking, show their knowledge, and develop research skills. The first year 2 students participated, last year 6 students participated, and this year 10 students participated,” Stevenson said.
Nathan, Samuel, Eileen, Miriam, Wendy, and Jisu outside the History Day event
“History Day involves students creating a projects related to the year’s theme. This year the theme was “Taking a Stand in History” Students choose a topic that they want to research. They conduct research, and then the create a project. The project can be an exhibit, (display board), a website, documentary, performance, or essay. Students create their project at school and write a short accompanying paper. The school approves them to go to the regional competition. At the regional competition (which was at WSU last Monday) students talk to judges about their project. Judges look at all projects in their category and evaluate whether the project meets the theme, makes a clear argument, displays knowledge and analysis, and communicates clearly and smoothly within the word or time limits. They then select the top projects from the category, and those advance to state,” Stevenson said.
This year’s Cotter History Day projects included the following:
“The Savior of Choseon: Yi Sun-Shin”–an exhibit by Wendy Bae, Jisu Kim, and Eileen Shin (advanced to State)
“Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto”–a website by Shinga Miyajima (honorable mention)
“The 1960s Women’s Rights Movement”–a website by Miriam Ellis (advanced to State)
“Emperor Meiji”–a website by Nathan and Samuel Graff (advanced to State)
“Who Runs the World: Women Making a Change in South Korea”–a performance by Chaelim Kim, Lucy Lee, and Holly Yi,  (honorable mention)
The three  groups who advanced to State went to the Minnesota State History Day at the U of M on April 29. They revised their projects prior to the event, and again shared their projects and were judged against projects from around the state.
“Nathan and I’s project was about Emperor Meiji and his impact on Japan.  I have visited Japan twice, and one of the things that most interested me about Japan was how both tradition and modernization play such a large role in the country today. So, I wanted to learn more about when Japan began Westernization and modernization. Nathan did not know very much about Japan and thought it would be good to do a topic that not many people knew much about,” Samuel Graff said.
Nathan and Samuel Graff at History Day
 Here is a link to the website Nathan and Samuel created:
 “The most interesting part of the project was learning more about a country and a historical topic that we did not know a lot about previously. The most challenging part was that it was very difficult to find primary sources on the topic since most of the primary sources had not been translated into English.”
“My project is about the 1960s Feminist Movement and it talks about some of the main women involved in the movement.I chose this project because I thought it matched this years History Day theme: Taking a stand in history, really well,” junior Miriam Ellis said.
Miriam and Goldie enjoying History Day
“The most interesting part of my history day project is researching all of the background information and finding pictures to match the content. Them most challenging is going into talk with the judges because you don’t know what questions they are going to ask,”  Ellis added.
“Jisu, Wendy, and I made the project about Admiral Yi Sun-Shin’s achievements. Our team was State qualified in the regional contest and honorable mention in the State Competition. Everyone’s projects were great. I remembered one project that was in front of us. It was about the Japanese admiral. The project was really well-organized and interesting,” senior Eileen Shin said about her experience with History Day.
The exhibit of Jimin (Wendy) Bae, Jisu Kim, and Hyesu (Eileen) Shin
” History Day is so much fun to participate in because it brings you together with people that are interested in the same thing as you are. Even though it is challenging to talk to judges it is fun to be able to explain to them your project and tell them why you think it is important or relevant,” Ellis said.