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Examiner
  • Bridger students prepare for National History Day contest

  • The idea for a History Day project by two Independence middle school students came from a simple source - the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.”



    “It was definitely good inspiration,” said Lorinda Ruz. “We watched it and thought that it was a great topic that showed how women really got into sports.”

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  • The idea for a History Day project by two Independence middle school students came from a simple source - the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.”
    “It was definitely good inspiration,” said Lorinda Ruz. “We watched it and thought that it was a great topic that showed how women really got into sports.”
    Lorinda along with Kais Penyock, both seventh graders at Bridger Middle School in Independence, have qualified to move on to the national level of the History Day competition. The duo placed second at the state competition in the Junior Group Exhibit with their project “Queens of the Diamond.” They join six other middle and high school students from the Kansas City area who will all be competing in the National History Day Contest June 9 to 13 at the University of Maryland, College Park.
    “I am excited and kind of nervous about competing at nationals,” Kasia said. “I have mixed emotions because it has been so much fun working on this project, but part of me is glad that it is over.”
    National History Day is an academic program for elementary and secondary school students. According to the National History Day website, www.nhd.org, students choose topics of historical relevance that are related to the annual theme and conduct research to put together original papers, exhibits, websites and performances. This year’s theme is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” This research is extensive and often includes visiting museums and libraries, combing through archives and conducting oral history interviews. Students are required to use critical-thinking problem-solving skills to interpret the information and draw conclusions about their topic.
    Those students who place first or second at the state competition qualify for nationals. The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and the Truman Library Institute hosted a preparation session Friday with some of the national qualifiers from Missouri. The workshop gave students the opportunity to show their projects and gather suggestions and ideas as to what they can do to improve before the national competition.
    “This benefits the students because they can hear from those who have been to nationals,” said Charlene Burns, the IMPACT coordinator at Bridger Middle School. “It offers students ways to stay competitive by giving them suggestions they might have thought of before.”
    Lorinda and Kasia started their project last September with some basic Internet research. They then discovered a book, “The Origins and History of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” written by Merrie Fidler, AAGPBL historian. After interviewing Fidler twice, they then had the opportunity to interview a former AAGPBL player.
    “They had to go to charm school because they originally thought that more people would come (to the games),” Kais said. “They thought it would be more appealing if the women wore skirts, and they were required to wear make-up. If they didn’t, they were fined and had to sit out a few games.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Lorinda said sports were something that was thought of as “not feminine.” But she said playing in the AAGPBL changed many of the player’s lives.
    “Women were thought of as being little dainty homemakers. They thought if women played sports, it would make them stupid or they would get a fever,” she said. “It is amazing to me how far things have come since then. So many doors were opened for women because of the league.”
     

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