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National History Day competition at Frink makes history

It was a National History Day competition, but eighth graders at EB Frink Middle School spent many, many days developing the projects they put in front of judges on Friday.

The first-ever school competition at Frink is prelude to the regional National History Day competition scheduled for next month at East Carolina University. School winners were chosen in four categories: documentary, website, paper and exhibit.

Three adult women talk to two female eighth graders.“This brings history to life and gives students a chance to experience history on their own terms as far as a topic that they’re curious about,” said Chadwick Stokes, the Frink social studies and history teacher who organized the event and who, two years ago, created the school’s History Lab, where the competition was held.

All eighth graders at the school – about 165 students -- were invited to enter projects, which could be built around American or world history that connects to this year’s National History Day theme, Frontiers in History. Among the projects judged Friday were the easily recognizable subjects, like the Wright brothers or Christopher Columbus or Wyatt Earp, and those that were interestingly obscure, the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In in Roxboro, for instance, or the story of the Agoji, the all-female unit of warriors from the African Kingdom of Dahomey.

“I’m impressed by the topics that they chose. There have been a lot today that we don’t traditional see,” said Karen Ipock, the North Carolina coordinator of National History Day and one of three judges, with colleagues Michaela Howell and JoAnn Williford.

“We really want History Day to be a hands-on discovery of history,” she said. “We don’t want them just to be sitting there, regurgitating facts. We want them to actually explore these primary source documents and put their hands on the history.”

Frink winners by category were: Documentary – Jeremiah Briggs (Individual) and Taylor Benton, Macy Schmidt, Ace Wiggins and Aiden Skoczylas (Group)

Webite – Hailey Heath, Asher Ortman, Keily Maria Lara-Frias, Nuvia Alejo Vasquez (Group)

Paper – Emma Grant

Exhibit – Gracie Grantham (Individual) and Kara Brock, Emma LaFone, Cayden Harrelson, Waylon Moore and Evelyn Escamilla-Aguilar

Photo caption:

EB Frink eighth graders Michaela Parks, left, and Kinsleigh Sutton explain their National History Day website project to judges, from left, Karen Ipock, Michaela Howell and JoAnn Williford during competition Friday in the school’s History Lab.