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Tyrone students advance to state history day competition

For the fifth consecutive year, Tyrone Area Middle School/High School will be sending multiple groups to the Pennsylvania State History Day competition at Penn State University.
This year, according to the www.outreach.psu.edu Web site, National History Day in Pennsylvania is being held on May 11-12, 2005.
Two groups from Tyrone advanced to the Penn State event after placing in the top three of their divisions earlier this month at the regional History Day competition held at Juniata College.
In the junior division, (grades six through eight), the group of Matt Murray, Kyle Updyke, Tia Williams and Sidney Fink, all eighth graders, placed second for their display titles “Thomas Nast: The Art of Communication.” It marked the group’s second consecutive trip to the state competition after winning the junior division group display category a year ago.
In the senior division (grades nine through 12), ninth graders Shane Emigh, Shayne Tate, Arran Shields and Dustin Hook placed third in the group display category for their presentation titles: “The John Peter Zenger Trial: Free Communication Through the Press.”
The groups were the 11th and 12th teams from Tyrone to advance to the state competition since 2001.
National History Day is an academic contest developed in 1974 in Ohio through Case Western Reserve University. It encourages students to research a historical topic based around a selected theme and then develop a creative display for presentation at a regional contest. Their presentation may take the form of a museum-type display, a historical paper, a play or a video documentary.
Students are then evaluated by a panel of judges that includes college history professors, college history majors and interested community volunteers. By placing in the top three at a regional qualifier, students then advance to a state competition and then nationals.
This year’s History Day theme was “Communications in History: The Key to Understanding.”
The eighth-grade group focused their presentation on the work of 19th century political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who brought down corrupt New York City politician Boss Tweed with his political cartoons. The ninth graders studied John Peter Zenger, who in the 1700s won a court battle involving freedom of the press.
Other Tyrone presentations this year included work on the television news coverage of the Kennedy assassination, communication on the Underground Railroad, Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzee communication, the Rosetta Stone and the Kennedy-Nixon Debates.
“I’m very proud of the work that all of our students completed this year,” said Kerry Naylor, Tyrone Middle School gifted support teacher. “Each year, win or lose, these kids begin to understand the meaning of real research, of digging deep into primary sources and finding the truth about a historical topic. It’s nice to see some of the group’s awarded with ribbons, but all of the groups worked very hard. In just five years, we’ve established a very strong tradition where students go into the contest expecting to be successful. That’s a tribute to every kid from Tyrone who has ever participated in the contest.”