sarah Jannings

LAKE MICHIGAN CATHOLIC- This past Saturday, on April 28th, five LMC students competed in the state competition for Michigan History Day in Bay City, Michigan.  Three freshmen, Katie Glendening, Sarah Jannings, and Kacey Ristow, along with two sophomores, John Mansfield and Chloe Simmons, advanced onto the state competition.  

“I would say the single best thing about Michigan History Day this year was developing my skills as a writer, as well as representing LMC,” said sophomore John Mansfield.

The students were introduced to the Michigan History Day competition back in October when their U.S. and World History teacher, Linda Schemenauer, made all the students complete projects for their winter semester exam grade.  The students got to choose from five different categories of projects: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites.

“The educational impact that Michigan History Day had on me when I made my documentary was that it taught me a lot about prohibition, and I learned something new about the place that I live in that I never knew before,” said freshmen Katie Glendening.

The students were allowed to choose any history topic they wanted as long as it corresponded with the chosen year’s theme “Conflict and Compromise.”  The students first entered into the local competition at their school, where they were interviewed and judged by four different people.

“The best thing about participating had to be the interview portions.  I love public speaking, so it was really fun,” said freshmen Kacey Ristow.

The four judges then chose the top three students who entered from each category to move onto the district competition, which took place at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo on March 3rd.  At WMU, eight students from LMC competed to show off all the hard work and time they had put into their projects.

“I learned a lot about my topic and I learned a few small things about some other projects that I got the chance to view,” said Ristow.

Each student was interviewed by an individual judge and was asked questions and given suggestions about how to improve their projects in the near future.  The state competition began just like the district competition with registration from 8:00 am-9:00 am and an opening ceremony from 9:00 am-9:15 am.

The participants were then dismissed and the judging began!  Each student was interviewed by different judges depending on what category of project they choose to enter.

“The most difficult (part of the event) for me was trying to stay excited about my topic after months of working on it as well as being properly prepared for the interviews,” said Mansfield.  

The competition at state was nothing like what the participants had experienced before.  Two national finalists and one alternate were chosen from each category and division at the awards banquet to move onto the National competition, which will take place in late June at the University of Maryland.  

No students from LMC were chosen by the judges to move onto the National competition.  However, many of the judges were surprised at how many students from LMC were chosen to even move on to state because this was LMC’s first year entering into the Michigan History Day competition.     

“Putting together a well thought out presentation was pretty stressful, but I plan on taking part in this competition next year because it was fun and also looks very good on an application,” said Ristow.

When the students weren’t at Bay City Central High School, they explored the area and experienced what Bay City had to offer.

“While at Bay City, I drove around, went hiking at a nearby state park, ate lunch, and watched a couple lacrosse games. It was really fun,” said Mansfield.

Bay City was a long drive away from St. Joseph, Michigan, so when the students ended their time at the high school their families and them had a long drive ahead of them.

“I was a little bummed that I didn’t make it to Nationals, but I was happy that I got to participate and that I made it to the level that I did,” said Ristow.

All the participants who didn’t make it onto Nationals were disappointed, but Mansfield tried to look at the positive of the current situation on his car ride home.
“On the car ride home I was a little disappointed and very tired, so I mostly caught up on sleep and listened to music.  However, educationally, MHD helped me increase my knowledge of history. Also, it improved my writing and professional skills,” said Mansfield.

Overall, the past few months have been very difficult for the students who have participated in the Michigan History Day competition.  However, late nights filled with frustration and tears can lead to amazing results and it showed when the five students from LMC moved onto state.