Madyson McColm was one of the select fwe to make it that far. She presented one of three Bourbon County projects at the competition, held at the University of Maryland campus.
McColm participated in the Senior Individual Performance. "Fearless Reformer: Free the Children" was the title of her piece, based on the work of activist Florence Kelley.
In the late 1800s, Kelley sparked a social and political revolution that informed America of the need for children's rights. Megan Felt, program director of the Lowell Milken Center, is her coach.
Madelyn Stark and Noah Fischer from Fort Scott Christian Learning Center participated in Senior Group Documentary. Their project was called, "We the People: A Wall of Separation," a documentary based on Baptist minister John Leland who led the effort to establish religious freedom in the nation through the ratification of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 1st Amendment ended religious persecution by the state churches that existed in 11 of the 13 original states. James Stark is their coach.
Ben Fischer, also from Christian Learning Center, participated in Junior Individual Website segment with his project, "Orchestrating the Transportation Revolution." Octave Chanute, a self-taught engineer and immigrant from France, realized his role in the transportation revolution. Chanute began his career with helping to build and design the American railroad network. His coach is Gloria Fischer.
McColm placed 11th in the nation.
Felt said more than 800,000 students competed at the district level nationwide and the top 2,500 made it to the national level. McColm's placement showed "she was better than over 80 projects that competed at the national level," Felt said.
"To get to the national level is a success and to make national finals, we're very proud of the hard work that they (the students) have done," she added. "They've all done a lot of in-depth research and gained skills that will help them for the rest of their lives."
One of Bourbon County's advantages in the contest is Lowell Milken Center Director Norm Conard, who Felt said has 20 years of experience with National History Day.
"And he really understands what judges like to see," she said. "It's content-based and research-based and Norm excels in that area. I have been fortunate enough to learn from Norm and now I'm able to share with our local teachers and students, and the teachers and students we work with around the world, how to improve their research base, which in turn affects the level of content they're able to produce and share."
Another positive aspect for local students is that kids here who work with the LMC focus on unsung heroes, which required vast amounts of research. "So they have a passion for -- and ownership of -- their project development," Felt said.
"Most of our students have 60 sources and an annotated bibliography," Felt added. "The sources, none of them are websites; they are books, diaries, articles, government documents, maps and charts. It's in-depth research. ... They are actual sources."