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HJHS students compete in National History Day contest in Maryland

Three students from Helper Junior High School represented the state of Utah in the 2011 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in College Park, Maryland last week.

Giovanna Chiara, Jesse Collins, and Kenyon Crisp, ninth graders at HJH, each have been working on their respective projects since last September. The students have progressed through many stages of competition including a school level fair, a regional fair, and a state fair in which these students qualified to go to nationals.

This year's theme for the National History Day competition was "Debate and Diplomacy: Successes, Failures and Consequences. Chiara chose to construct a website about the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr titled "The Interview at Weehawken." Collins and Crisp also constructed a website, but chose a topic much more local. Their project involved the Winter Quarters mine disaster. It was titled "A Blast from the Past: The Winter Quarters Mine Disaster."

This school year was a milestone year for the junior high having taken 56 students to the regional history fair, then taking 21 students to the state level, culminating with three national qualifiers. History teacher Chris Sweeney couldn't be more proud of his students. "Each student was given the challenge to create a project, then took the challenge and rose to the occasion" Sweeney said. "History Fair allows each child to research, learn about our nation's history, and present the material in a way that will be a valuable tool in preparation for college and beyond."

Each student, along with their parents and their history teacher, made the trek east to take part in the week long celebration/contest. During the week the kids got the chance to visit Washington, D.C. on many occasions and take part in activities offered them by the NHD organization.

Among them was the chance to meet and converse with both of Utah's Senators and all three members of the United States House of Representatives. In particular, the students got the chance to visit with Representative Jim Matheson and talk about his recent visit to Carbon County. Chris Sweeney and his students wish to thank the Castle Valley community and Carbon School Board for their support in this endeavor. "

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