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National History Day welcomes hundreds to MCC

Barriers were broken at the Metropolitan Community College South Omaha Campus on March 6. SOC was the district host site for National History Day, an annual competition for students in sixth through twelfth grade to highlight important historical events.

This year’s National History Day theme was “Breaking Barriers in History.” Nearly 300 students were able to showcase an instance in history that related to the topic through one of the five categories: papers, documentaries, websites, exhibits, and performances, as either individuals or in groups.

“It frames a broad spectrum of topics from ancient to modern times,” says Amy Forss, History program subject coordinator at MCC.

Mercy High School students Kateri Pantoja, Clara Jones and Molly Vankat chose to perform a 10-minute musical about Irish women migrating to America during the potato famine. The girls had worked on the musical since December.

“We all do theater so we thought this was the best way to explore and tell this story,” says Vankat.

The group felt confident after performing for the judges.

“I think we had a really good performance,” says Pantoja.

Performances were scattered throughout SOC. The district competition was previously hosted by the Durham Museum, but the event had outgrown the space, Forss explains. The National History Day state coordinator reached out to Forss to see if MCC would be willing to take over hosting duties. Forss and other MCC officials agreed it was a perfect fit.

“It is a prestigious event for MCC because the other six Nebraska districts are universities, colleges and community colleges,” Forss says. “I love this competition and want to see it grow at MCC. Besides being a fantastic educational opportunity, every student who competes in it is potentially a future MCC student. “

The following students placed in the district National History day competition and are eligible to move onto the state level.

Junior Group Documentary
First place: “Mergens v. Westside Community Schools: Opening the Doors to Religious Freedom in Public Schools” by Amy Oltman and Amanda McElwain, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Second place: “The Journey: The Story of the 1999 Women's World Cup Team” by MaryRose Bartek-Miller and Ann Carlson, St. Margaret Mary School
Third place: “The Life and Legacy of an Unknown Leader: Oliver Tambo
Against the Apartheid” by Quinten Murray and Eva Philippi, Ralston Middle School
Fourth place: “Title IX and Important Women in Sports History” by Kaylynn Prugger and Avery Klusmire, Platteview Central Junior High School
 
Junior Group Exhibit
First place: “Janet Guthrie: Racing Through the Glass Ceiling” by Jaclyn Johnson, Dylen Ritchey and Aiden Conaway, Ralston Middle School
Second place: “Americans with Disabilities Act” by Hudson Palu and Hattie Moeller, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Third place: “the Adventures of Ann Bancroft” by Nell Farrington and Lilia Howard, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Fourth place: “Women of NASA” by Sarah Spomer and Rudy Titus, Lewis and Clark Middle School
 
Junior Group Performance
First place: “Johannes Gutenberg’s Press Press” by Wilson Geiler and Jaxon Drew, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Second place: “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” by Haley Mattox and Nora Friesen, Elkhorn Valley View Middle School
 
Junior Group Website
First place: “Light and Color: How Claude Monet Changed the Art World” by Cassidy Culjat and Shelby Stephens, Ralston Middle School
Second place: “Malcolm X: Different Man, Different Future” by Ireland Muhlecke, Allison Schanbacher, Elom Attiogbe and Jessika Longacre, Ralston Middle School
Third place: “Lovings Fight to Break Interracial Barriers” by Iman Pearson and Sean Mathews, Ralston Middle School
Fourth place: “Aviation” by Aiden Harvey and Ethan Rand, Lewis and Clark Middle School
 
Junior Individual Documentary
First place: “Women in Aviation” by Sasha Denenberg, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Second place: “From Rags to Riches: The Athletes of North Omaha” by Cameron Willits, Ralston Middle School
Third place: “Walt Disney’s Change in Animation” by Callahan Hernandez, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Fourth place: “Tammie Jo Shults in the U.S. Navy” by Rocco Cerasoli, Lewis and Clark Middle School
 
Junior Individual Exhibit
First place: “Women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Breaking Barriers in History” by Lauren Heser, St. Robert Bellarmine School
Second place: “Navajo Code Talkers: Breaking the Barrier of Communication in WWII” by Lauren Buban, Westside Middle School
Third place: “Chief Standing Bear: From Tears to Triumph” by Ella Sater, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Fourth place: “Stonewall” by Ronald Jones, Lewis and Clark Middle School
 
Junior Individual Paper
First place: “Florence Nightingale: Shattering the Barriers of Uncleanliness, and Family and Social Disgrace” by Izzie Santo, Westside Middle School
Second place: “Knight Fall: The End of the Cavalry’s Dominance” by Ruben James, St. Margaret Mary School
Third place: Roe v. Wade: A Controversial Case of Women's Reproductive Rights” by Lydia Langfeldt, Ralston Middle School
Fourth place: “Bob Ross” by Lizzy Linder, Bellevue Mission Middle School
 
Junior Individual Performance
First place: “Rita Levi Montalcini: Breaking Barriers to Discover the Nerve Growth Factor” by Olivia Van Lancker, Ralston Middle School
Second place: “Madame Physicist: The Woman Behind Radium” by Lauren Vertuli, Platteview Central Junior High School
Third place: “Breaking Barriers in Religious Liberty” by Maria Nero, Lewis and Clark Middle School
 
Junior Individual Website
First place: “Margaret Sanger: The Development of the Pill” by Naala Sorrell, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Second place: “Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The SR-71 Breaking Barriers in History” by Ian Petrick, Lewis and Clark Middle School
Third place: “Katherine Johnson” by Amy Fischer, Lewis and Clark Middle School 
Fourth place: “Women in the U.S. Military” by Maria Sully, St. Cecilia Cathedral School
 
Senior Group Documentary
First place: “First Impressions: The Type of Story You Wouldn’t Expect” by Josephine Browning and Maysa McCormick, Mercy High School
Second place: “Momentous Memes” by Grace Larson and Danielle Stolze, Mercy High School
 
Senior Group Exhibit
First place: “The Little Rock Nine” by Ellee Houghtaling and Sam Burns, Mercy High School 
Second place: “The Breakthrough of Fingerprinting” by Clare Euteneuer and McKenzie Moore, Mercy High School
Third place: “Can You Still Hear the Birds?” by Josie Pellerito and Karina Rief, Mercy High School
Fourth place: “Period. End of Story.” By Marielle Macdonald and Lilee Surdell, Mercy High School
 
Senior Group Performance
First place: “The New Colossus” by Kateri Pantoja, Clara Jones and Molly Vankat, Mercy High School
 
Senior Individual Documentary
First place: “New Sports Introduced to the Olympics” by Lindseu Wessling, Mercy High School
Second place: “The Underground Railroad” by Cord Benesch, Ralston High School
Third place: “Jordan and Nike Broke Boundaries in the Sneaker World” by Garrett Riley, Omaha North Magnet High School
 
Senior Individual Exhibit
First place: “Making Waves” by Baylin Davis, Mercy High School
Second place: “Jazz Breaking Racial and Musical Barriers” by Bridget Koley, Mercy High School
Third place: “Breaking Barriers in Omaha: The Omaha Star” by Carolyn Hire, Mercy High School
Fourth place: “Dissections by da Vinci” by Makayla Kennedy, Mercy High School 
 
Senior Individual Paper
First place: “Eleanor Roosevelt: An Advocate for the People” by Lauren Young, Marian High School
Second place: “How Superheroes Changed American WWII Participation” by Megan Streff, Mercy High School
Third place: “Breaking Barriers, Building Ramps: The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990” by Cecilia Urbanski, Marian High School
Fourth place: “Barriers and Effects of Apollo 11” by Kate Hoppe, Marian High School
 
Senior Individual Performance
First place: “Corazon Aquino: Breaking the Barrier of Dictatorship” by Brenna Whitten, Elkhorn South High School
Second place: “Hippies Everywhere: The 1967 Levitation of the Pentagon” by Bethany Madden, Ralston High School
 
Senior Individual Website
First place: “The Crimes of This Guilty Land Can Never Be Purged Away but with Blood": John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry” by Grace Belter, Ralston High School