Salk school sends 37 students state History Day competition
Star News. Staff. April 30, 2020.

Amidst the numerous athletic contests and academic competitions that have been canceled this spring, Minnesota History Day continues on with students participating virtually, teachers coaching virtually and the state History Day staff working remotely instead of in their offices at the Minnesota Historical Society.

This added a layer of complexity onto a successful academic program, but thousands of students and teachers across the country have had to rise to the occasion, and the team from Salk STEM Magnet Middle School is fully on board, school officials said.

A total of 82 students advanced from Salk’s school level History Day competition, which was held in late February when schools were still in session. Two weeks before the regional event was to take place, Minnesota History Day made the decision to have their remaining regional events go virtual to comply with the governor’s and Minnesota Department of Health’s recommendations.

“It required all of us to make a big shift but I’m so proud of the students for sticking with it and working with the teachers to figure out how to do this,” said Ron Hustvedt, Salk social studies teacher and one of the school’s History Day coaches.

Those 82 students submitted projects electronically and a team of two to three judges evaluated their projects and selected the top ones to advance to state. A total of 37 students from Salk Middle School’s STEM Magnet program qualified for state, making it one of the top schools in the state. Six students were also awarded with honorable mentions for their projects. Add it all up, and Salk students have shown that they are the embodiment of one of the strongest History Day programs in the state and nation.

“The teachers here work very hard to get all 500 of our participating students to successfully finish a project — that’s the first real victory — advancing to regions and state is just the icing on the cake,” Hustvedt said.

National History Day is an inquiry project where students choose a topic based on an annual theme, conduct extensive academic research, create a final presentation, and share it with an audience.

Students from Hustvedt’s classes advanced to regions and state, as did students from teachers Scott Glew, Nikki Tripp, Maranda Cameron, and Starrsha Wolff.

“This group of teachers is like a dream team, because we all work together well and supporting student success is our number one goal — we want the kids to enjoy all the hard work and push themselves to achieve more than they would have believed possible.”

The state contest will also be virtual, a first for the contest that’s been in Minnesota since 1980.

Salk students will compete with over 1,200 students from across the state. Every single state contest this year will be held virtually, with the national competition being totally online as well. The Minnesota History Day office will broadcast the announcement of students advancing to state and receiving special prizes on Sunday, May 3, on Facebook Live.

Besides selecting their own topic, students also get to select the way they will communicate their learning to the public. Students can write a 10-minute performance they star in; create a 10-minute documentary: write a 2,000 word paper; create a museum display; or, create a fully interactive website. Each project is organized around a thesis statement and students create annotated bibliographies demonstrating extensive research, often with 30 or more reliable sources including interviews with hall of fame inductees, best-selling authors, historians and other people who made history.

Salk Middle School students at State History Day 2020

Group Documentaries: Finley Mortenson and Anna Voigt; Hannah Leko & Ava Oblinger

Individual documentaries: Kayla Christy, Ronny Hustvedt, Melody Kpahn

Group Exhibits: Leila Bakri & Olivia Riewe; Ady Bollinger & Ava Kallunki; Macy English & Brianna Sherman; Haillie McCartney & Maliyah Ritthirak

Individual exhibits: Kendall Trost, Makayla Petz, Riley Sampson, 

Group performances: Abby Huselid & Elizabeth Kubicka; Holly Narr & Olivia Smith

Individual performances: Lamasajor Jalloh, Faith Wilkinson, Lengxing Yang

Group websites: Elijah Lassle, Isaac Sydow & John Tran; Katana Bouathong & Molly Felgate; Paige Padilla & Allison Rinehart

Individual websites: Samaira Khan, Kai Paulsen, Morgan Peterson, Jenna Weatherly, Lillianna Yang, Ella Olofson

Papers: Jillian Huntington

Students who received honorable mention at regions include Madison Cloud, Alexandria Schwartz, Kiana Hilary, Macy Shearer, Julia Werner, Lidia Felgate, Audrey Horner and Lillianna Yang. While their projects do not advance to the state competition, their work was among the best.

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