Standing up for history has Craig Middle School Students making history | CraigDailyPress.com

Standing up for history has Craig Middle School Students making history

— Some of history's most courageous people were featured in projects developed by 47 Craig Middle School students who dominated in a regional history competition held March 4 in Grand Junction.

"The general theme was 'take a stand in history.' The people we all chose did some major things. They did what was right," said eight-grade student Lauren Hilley who won a place at state with her paper on civil rights activist Ida B. Wells.

Over half of the students representing the Western Slope at the state National History Day competition in May in Denver are CMS students.

"I'm proud of them. They have had a great attitude. I've pushed them hard," said Alicia Townsend, CMS history teacher and leader of the history group.

Last year, eight CMS students qualified for the state completion. This year 21 students from the seventh- and eighth-grade qualified for state. Townsend said it is one of the largest state teams in Moffat County history.

"Galileo wasn't just a person who found a bunch of little facts about planets, he really stood-up for people's rights… without censoring or punishment," said eight-grade student Gwen Doizaki who won her way to state with an exhibit called “Galileo versus the church.”

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Some student's literally interpreted this year's theme for grades six to 12.

Claudett Colven was 15 when she refused to stand at the back of the bus. She was arrested for sitting, nine months prior to Rosa Parks' doing the same, said state qualifier Trinity Boulger of the women she and Sadie Dunckley featured in their award winning website.

Eight-grade student Kimber Wheeler also focused on leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

"Banch Rickey was the one who drafted (baseball player) Jackie Robinson and did the hard work in the background to get the movement going," Wheeler said.

The team of Tressa Otis, Wessley Counts and Tyler Burkett qualified for state by creating an iMovie documentary about sporting and civil rights hero Muhammad Ali that qualified them with a place on the state team.

"We dug deeper and learned that he took a stand for religious beliefs during the draft," Otis said.

The regional competition was "close," said CMS Teacher Emily Bogue who joined Townsend in praising the hard work done by middle school students.

"It takes a lot of commitment and work. Students worked through lunch, during breaks and after school in many cases," Townsend said.

When school resumes on Monday, state qualifiers will go back to work polishing their presentations.

"I hope to get a higher ranking (at state)," Doizaki said.

The state competition will be held on May 5 at the University of Colorado Denver, Auraria Campus. First and second place winners are eligible to attend the National History Day competition in June 12 to 16 at the University of Maryland.

"We hope the community will root us on," Otis said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.