History Day Winners

History Day students 

Pulaski County students traveled to Radford University Friday, March 15, to compete in the National History Day District Level Competition. By the end of the event, 24 Pulaski County students had been recognized and 15 qualified for the state competition in April.


History Day originally occurred in Pulaski County Public Schools from 1990 to 2007 under the leadership of Mr. Bill Atwood. During that time, students from Pulaski Middle School did well with one student finishing seventh in the nation in 1996. That project, which was about coal mining, was presented by Joshua Stoker. That same year, Mr. Atwood was named the Virginia History Day Teacher of the Year.


After a brief hiatus, Mrs. Roxanne Souma revived the program at Pulaski County High School from 2014-2017. Students competed at the district, state and national level during those years. The last time a Pulaski County student competed at the high school level was 2016.


The program is now back, under the leadership of Mrs. Penny Lane at Pulaski County Middle School, but it has grown by several levels with teams now at the elementary school, middle school, and high school levels.


The theme for this year is “Turning Points In History.” The event is sponsored by the Radford University College of Education and Human Development and Radford University School of Teacher Education and Leadership.


Students who finish in the top three in each category move on to the state competition. There are different categories available for students to pick from, including Exhibit Boards, Documentaries, Websites, Papers, and Performances.


National History Day (NHD) is a nonprofit education organization established in 1974 with over half a million students participating around the world annually.


Participation in History Day has not only grown to more schools, but it also has attracted more students from each school. In the first year of the return to competition, Pulaski County had 12 students competing. Last year, that number jumped up to 55 students. This year, those who qualified for the state competition will compete April 27-28 at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and Culture in Richmond.History Day winners


There were 97 total students from Pulaski County involved. That included two Pulaski County High School students, 38 elementary school students, and 57 Pulaski County Middle School students. At the elementary school level, students came from Critzer, Pulaski, and Snowville elementary schools. Other schools participating in the event included Blacksburg Middle, Cave Spring High School, Indian Valley Elementary, Pulaski County Middle, St. John Neumann Academy, Blacksburg New School, Check Elementary, Floyd Elementary, Northcross School, and Willis Elementary. Event organizers noted that for next year, the competition will need a larger venue.


As for awards, Pulaski County had a solid group of students recognized.


At the high school level, Willow Elliot and McKenzie Davis earned first place for their documentary “Her Ballot.”


From the middle school, in the Junior Group Performance, Keelyn O’Reilly and Denni Flores received an honorable mention for “How Schizophrenia Affected My Family.” In the Junior Individual Exhibition competition, an honorable mention went to Thomas Tedesco for “Invasion of Normandy: A Turning Point.” AnnMarie Johnson was awarded third place for her exhibit, “Jesus Revolution.” In the Junior Group Exhibit, an honorable mention went to Ainsley Vaughan, Natalie Hinkley, and Sarah Simpson for “The Red Tails.” Izzy Osbourne and Ryleigh Dean were awarded second place for “Kristallnacht.” The group of Carter Gill, Haven McKinney, and Roland Thompson were awarded first place for their project, “USS Monitor.”


In the elementary school division, even more students were recognized. In the Elementary Group Exhibit, an honorable mention was awarded to Britton Ramsey and Gavin Reece from Critzer Elementary for “The Battle of Okinawa.” The Critzer team of Emma McGuire and Everly Dawson received second place for “The Boston Tea Party.” The Pulaski Elementary team of Carter Peterson and Oscar Reis were awarded first place for “The Battle of Midway.”


In the Elementary Individual Exhibit competition, Levi Juan of Snowville Elementary received an honorable mention for “Jackie Robinson.” Pulaski Elementary students took first, second, and third place to round out this category. Oliver Nester took third with “Chernobyl Disaster.” Maria Correa-Sanchez was second with “The Vietnam War.” Adeline Cobbs was awarded first place for “Martha Graham: A Turning Point For Dance.”


Students will have the opportunity to present their projects at the next meeting of the Pulaski County School Board, currently scheduled for April 9 at Pulaski County Middle School. Projects will be set up for viewing prior to the start of the meeting.