Pittsburgh-area History Day winners move on to state competition


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May will mark the 125th anniversary of the Johnstown Flood, and that disaster was the topic of two winning research projects in this year’s National History Day competition in Pittsburgh.

Isabelle Schroeder, a student at St. Joseph High School in the Natrona Heights section of Harrison, won first place in the senior paper division of the annual competition. Her topic was “Matter, Morality, and Mud: Disaster at Johnstown.”

Missouri O’Brien, of Trinity High School in Washington, Pa., won third place among the senior individual exhibits. Her display illustrated “Accounting for The Great Flood 1889: Negligence and Liability.”

Those two students and other winners from the regional contest, held Sunday and Monday at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District, have qualified for the state History Day competition. That event will be held May 12-13 at Millersville University. First- and second-place winners at the state contest will qualify for the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Competition in June at the University of Maryland.

Nearly 400 students from 27 school districts in four counties took part in the annual competition. Winners who can go on to the state contest were chosen in a junior division for students in grades 6-8 and in a senior division for high school students.

Students participated either in teams or as individuals. Their projects could include research papers, websites, displays, documentaries and performances.

The theme for this year’s History Day is “Rights and Responsibilities.”

Winners in the senior division included the following:

Research paper

1st place — Isabelle Schroeder, St. Joseph High School, Natrona Heights, “Matter, Morality, and Mud: Disaster at Johnstown.”

2nd place — Benjamin Artuso, Trinity High School, Washington County, “The Lieber Code: Responsibilities of Warring Nations and the Rights of Their Prisoners.”

3rd place — Delaney Wehn, Peters Township High School, “A Sobering Realization: American Prohibition.”

Senior group documentary

1st place, Nick Larimer and Ryan Williams, Peters Township High School, “RES OMNIUM COMMUNES: When is There Not a Right of Sovereignty?” (The Latin phrase refers to “the common heritage of all humanity.”)

2nd place — Jordan Van Thiel, Benjamin “Benji” Staniszewski, Thomas Klawinski, Jack Farrell and Steven Montalbano, St. Joseph High School, “Furman v Georgia: The Right to Impartial Justice.”

3rd place — Erin Gilboy and Sara Celender, St. Joseph High School, “Lessons from ‘The Jungle’: The Rights of the Consumer and the Responsibility of the Government.”

Senior group performance

1st place — Sarah Klukaszewski, Laura D’Alessandris, Lydia Scheer and Maria Hernadez, St. Joseph High School, “Buck v Bell: Forced Sterilization and Human Rights.”

2nd place — Carly Dinnin and Jacqueline Marchi, St. Joseph High School, “ ‘You Can No Longer Remain Where You Are Now’: The Tragedy that is the Trail”

3rd place — Tess Holka, Patricia Nickoloff and Elizabeth Celko, St. Joseph High School, “ ‘Let Them Wear Towels:’ The Struggle for Equal Opportunity in Sports Broadcasting.”

Senior group exhibit

1st place — Cassidy Milberger, Alexis Shirley, Grace Banke and Alyssa Snyder, St. Joseph High School, “ ‘A Blooming Disgrace:’ Amelia Bloomer and the Struggle for Women’s Rights.”

2nd place — Nicholas Pleva, Anthony Sparacino, William Aikins, Jacob Stearns and Samuel Beaver, St. Joseph High School, “In the Crosshairs: Taking a Closer Look at the Second Amendment.”

3rd place — Mary Olivia Garda, Mallory Boggess and Niah Laughery, St. Joseph High School, “The Battle over America’s Soul.”

Senior group website

1st place — Sydney Hannah, Shreya Sharma and Angela Roberts, Peters Township High School, “Pioneer to a Medical Career: Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell.”

Senior individual documentary

1st place — Jessica Moody, Belle Vernon Area School District, “A Microcosm of the Times: The Partisan Press of Cambria County, John Brown and the Road to Civil War.”

2nd place — Emily Palefsky, Trinity High School, “The Stonewall Riots: Out of the Closet and Into the Streets.”

3rd place — Helen Guo, Pine-Richland High School, “Madalyn Murray O’Hair: Controversial Champion of the 1st Amendment.”

Senior individual performance

1st place — Scout Best, Hidden Hills Homeschool, Confluence, “It’s Not All Black and White: The Rights and Responsibilities of Photojournalists During the Vietnam War.”

2nd place — Alex Franco, Peters Township High School, “American Trusts: The Presidents, the Tycoons, and the Muckraker.”

3rd place — Alice Navadeh, North Allegheny Intermediate High School, “A Shocking Deception: The Milgram Experiment.”

Senior individual exhibit

1st place — Caroline Lindey, St. Joseph High School, “Justice at War: Japanese Internment.”

2nd place — Tim Hudak, Belle Vernon Area School District, “A Light at the End of the Tunnel: The Legacy of Joseph A. Holmes.”

3rd place — Missouri O’Brien, Trinity High School, “Accounting for The Great Flood 1889: Negligence and Liability.”

Senior individual website

1st place — Jenna McGreevy, St. Joseph High School, “Hell with the Lid Off: The Homestead Steel Strike of 1892.”

2nd place — Derrick Robinson, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh, “The History of Propaganda.”

3rd place — Weston Caloyer, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh, “A History of Controversy: Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Winners in the Junior Division included:

Junior paper

1st place — Giovanna Tatananni, Mary Queen Of Apostles School, New Kensington, “John Locke’s Effect on the Responsibilities of Government and the Rights of the Governed in the Formation of America.”

2nd place — Jacob Davis, Belle Vernon Area Middle School, “Curt Flood: A Well-Paid Slave."

3rd place — Duncan Thompson, Kentucky Avenue School, Pittsburgh, “Henry Box Brown: Taking Responsibility for One’s Right to be Free.”

Junior group documentary

1st place — Ana Eyerman and Sarah Mooney, Pine-Richland Middle School, “Rights and Responsibilities of Women in the Civil Rights Movement.”

2nd place — Jillian Siegal, Sydney Goldberg and Desiree Kotlinski, Pine-Richland Middle School, “1936 Berlin Olympics.”

3rd place — Hunter Barton, Aiden Landis, Tyler Woodrow and Nathaniel Saar, Pine-Richland Middle School, “Jackie Robinson.”

Junior group performance

1st place — Mekhela Santebennur and Shruthi Shivkumar, Peters Township Middle School, “Women’s Rights: Striving to Achieve Equality.”

Junior group exhibit

1st place — Lekha Amin and Zoya Mahmood, Sewickley Academy, “Women’s Suffrage in Great Britain: The Struggle of Emmeline Pankhurst.”

2nd place — Mary Duggan, Olivia Sarson, Annabel Gillespie, Lu Gillespie and Kennedy Wilson, Sewickley Academy, “Carlisle Indian School.”

3rd place — Andrew Wright and Michael Chirumbolo, St. John The Baptist School, Plum, “Rights Trampled: The Jews in Nazi Germany.”

Junior group website

1st place — Mary Bauer, Karley Baker and Anna Slebonick, Pine-Richland Middle School, “Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.”

2nd place — Pranav Mulgund, Spencer Kries and Will Nocito, Sewickley Academy, “North Korean Prison Camps.”

3rd place — Alyssa Bigley and Elise Malcho, Pine-Richland Middle School, “Samurai: The Warrior Class of Japan.”

Junior individual documentary

1st place — Bradley Kennedy, Belle Vernon Area Middle School, “The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: Irresponsible Neglect, Responsible Reaction.”

2nd place — Jordan Hartman, Belle Vernon Area Middle School, “The Responsibility of the Truth: Kent State, May 4, 1970.”

3rd place — Taylor Cooper, Belle Vernon Area Middle School, “Nat Turner: Domestic Terrorist? American Hero?”

Junior individual performance

1st place — Ethan Schroeder, Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, “The Clean Hands Theory of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis: The Rights of Patients, The Responsibilities of Caregivers.”

2nd place — Erin Mahoney, Sewickley Academy, “Dr. Samuel Mudd and the Lincoln Assassination.”

3rd place — Addie Best, Hidden Hills Homeschool, Confluence, “Fishwives and the Rights of Man: From the Fall of the Bastille to the Storming of Versailles.”

Junior individual exhibit

1st place — Antonio Capone, Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, “Tuskegee Airmen: The Fight for the Right to Fight!”

2nd place — Allison Williams, Brookline Regional Catholic School, “Horace Mann: The Mann Who Dared To Care.”

3rd place — Emily Richard, Fort Cherry Middle-High School, “The 19th Amendment − Unlocking Women’s Rights and Responsibilities.”

Junior individual website

1st place — Dylan Haney, Belle Vernon Area Middle School, “In the Shadow of the King: Pontiac Stands Against the Tide of British Empire.”

2nd place — Faith Remich, Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, “Nelson Mandela: Accepting Responsibility, Advocating Rights.”

3rd place — Jalen Thomas, Kentucky Avenue School, Pittsburgh, “The Pittsburgh Courier: Taking Responsibility for the Rights of African-Americans.”


Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 724-772-0184.

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