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Fridley Public Schools

An FMS 8th grade students explains her History Day project to judges.

The September 11 attacks, the bubonic plague, Rosa Parks, Barbie, and the Cuban Missile Crisis were among the most popular topics selected by eighth grade students for their historical research projects presented at the History Day showcase at Fridley Middle School on Thursday, February 15. This year’s showcase featured 161 students presenting 134 projects illustrating the theme “Turning Points in History.”

Vivian Nealy’s project titled “The Living Dead Women” focused on the Radium Girls, a group of five female watch dial painters who sued their employer after contracting deadly radium poisoning in the early 1900s. She chose it because of the impact their lawsuit had on workplace safety in America.

“Even though their lives were very short and painful,” Nealy explained, “the Radium Girls left a mark because their lawsuit was looked at to create the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that helps people to this day.”

The school showcase is the first stage of the annual National History Day competition in which students in grades 6-12 participate nationwide. Students are permitted to pick the medium of their project in one of five categories: exhibit board, documentary, website, performance, or research paper.

Amar Bahar was the only student to choose a performance for his project about Rosa Parks, which included a large cardboard bus to represent the Montgomery bus boycott led by Parks in 1955.

“I chose Rosa Parks because she fought for Black people’s rights,” Bahar said. “The lesson from her is to treat people equally, no matter the color of their skin.”

Each project is evaluated by a team of 2-4 judges made up of district faculty, community members, and seniors at FHS. Projects are judged to determine which will move on to the regional competition held in March. From there, students have the opportunity to progress to state and national competitions.

The project allows students to put into practice the Middle Years Programme Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills that are fundamental to the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. ATL skills, which consist of self-management, communication, research, social and critical thinking skills, empower students to succeed and prepare them to pursue the rigorous IB Diploma Programme or IB Career-related Programme at Fridley High School.

Congratulations to all of our eighth grade scholars who completed this middle school milestone!