Historians take honors

"America's youth may not incline her to reviving the past, but island students' lively approach to history bodes well for the future.I prefer to work hands on, said Chase Sandbloom, who placed seventh in the recent National History Day competition. First-place and $1,000 winner Catherine Macala agreed that textbooks are not the most stimulating way to learn about former times.Which accounts for the enterprising way in which the Woodward pupils set to work on their history projects last November. Eighth-grader Macala scripted a one-act play to dramatize the Boldt decision, the court ruling that affirmed the treaty fishing rights of Washington tribes. Sandbloom collaborated with fellow Woodward seventh grader Duncan Kowalski to construct a six-foot exhibit - complete with pictures, captions and a flashing timeline illuminating the stops made on the journey - to demonstrate the links forged by traveller Marco Polo between Europe and China.These projects on the theme of historical turning points were selected to represent Washington State at the National History Day Competition, along with those of other students nationwide who had placed first or second in their state history day competition.Housed at the University of Maryland campus, Kowalski, Macala and Sandbloom were accompanied by Woodward eighth-grader Emily Hallet and seventh-grader Paul Brinkley, who placed third and first respectively in the state finals. Now, it is with mixed feelings that the national competitors look back on the hours spent. It got kind of old at the end, said Sandbloom, who was happy to donate his project to the school, but it was worth getting burnt out for.Macala said the hours spent preparing and adjusting her presentation were countless.But all made their sacrifices happily. Sandbloom said he was pleased to work with Kowalski elaborating on their exhibit as they progressed from regionals through state and finally to national competitions, while Macala stressed the importance of studying the past.We're going to be running America, so we need to know what happened in order to avoid making the same mistakes, she said."

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