A student play about the Irish Potato Famine won the 2011 Florida History Fair competition at Tallahassee, and then earned a silver medal and a $1000 prize at the 2011 National History Day Contest at College Park, Maryland.
Jessica Hamacher and Jaime Kay, two sixth-graders from Dunedin Highland Middle School’s Center for Gifted Students, wrote, produced and performed the one-act play “Starvation in Ireland: An International Diplomatic Crisis.” Their play beat 33 other entries to win the Florida History Fair competition at Tallahassee Community College on May 3, 2011. The state win qualified them to compete at the 2011 National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland, where, on June 16, 2011, their play won a silver medal in the Irish or Irish-American History category.
Best friends Jessica and Jaime wrote, produced and performed their 10-minute original play for teacher Teresa Bergstrom’s gifted class at Dunedin Highland Middle School. Students were required to choose a historical topic, research it extensively and then present a paper, exhibit, performance, documentary or website. Jessica and Jaime researched more than 30 primary sources and conducted interviews with family members of those affected by the Irish potato famine and museum directors in New York and Ireland. They shared the writing, directing, producing and acting responsibilities. Their play won the school-wide competition, then the Pinellas County competition, and then the state-wide competition at Tallahassee. The state-level win qualified them to compete at the 2011 National History Day Contest on June 12-16, 2011 at the University of Maryland at College Park.
“National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic program for elementary and secondary school students”… “Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.”: http://www.nationalhistoryday.org/About.htm
At the National History Day Contest in Maryland, professional historians and educators judged more than 2,500 student projects. Jessica and Jaime competed against 100 plays in the Junior group, won a silver medal in the Irish or Irish-American History category, and were awarded a $1000 prize by the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Congratulations, Jessica and Jaime!