WJ history team makes history

By Dean Shipley

May 2, 2014

West Jefferson High School history research teams have made history.

One team won the state championship and another won special recognition at History Day held in April on the Ohio State University campus. It is the first state championship in six years of trying, said Jennifer Siddiqi, research history teacher.

History Day is a nationwide program. To qualify, students in 50 states and territories compete within their own states with an opportunity to advance to the national meet, which will be held June 15-19 in College Park, Md. at the University of Maryland.

The Roughriders will be there.

Their project, submitted by seniors Jimmy Foster, Garrett Beachy and Erin Bradfield, was titled “A Campus in Chaos, the Ohio State Riots of 1970.”

To put the project together, the three-person team had to scour archives, gather information and then make sure all their sources were documented. They visited university and Ohio Historical Society archives in search of information.

And did they find information, Siddiqi said. In fact, they compiled so much information, the bigger job became selectively editing the items they found.

“They had so much information, they had to pick and choose what went on the board,” Siddiqi said. The board is a tri-panel of wood, which has been used by previous teams. The trio stripped off information from previous competitions, sanded and repainted the panel to freshen the look.

Siddiqi said they had arguments about which pieces of information should be included, but they were able to reach consensus on what information was displayed.

She noticed at times students became bogged down by the sheer tedium of assembling the display, but in the end they were pleased with the presentation, she said.

To make the trip to Maryland, the school will underwrite expenses for the four-day trip.

Another project won a special award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Submitted by Chaz Murphy and John Balderson, their topic was “PMRC (parent music resource center) rocks the music industry” — a clash between parental responsibilities and music rights.

Siddiqi said the theme for the project was rights and responsibilities.

For their award, the duo received a cash award plus tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.