History Day Regionals concludes

Park students qualify for State competition

Dani Orloff and Breanna Thompson

Emma Dietz
Seniors Dotan Appelbaum and Amira Stone present their History Day exhibit on the Stonewall Riots. Four projects from St. Louis Park High School qualified for the State Competition at Regionals.

When senior Amira Stone reflects on her first MN History Day Regionals experience, she said she enjoyed seeing her research topic within other projects.

“This was my first time going to regionals, so that was fun,” Stone said. “My project was an exhibit, so it was a poster and I got to see a bunch of other people’s posters, and that was interesting because there was some overlap in topics and the thing that I worked with was mentioned in some other people’s projects, and it was just cool learning about things that way.”

Senior Jared Zirkes said he worked on a website, which required an interview with the judges at MN History Day Regionals.

“It is different for each type of project, but for (websites), the judges had seen our website beforehand, so it was just a short interview with all sorts of questions about the process,” Zirkes said.  

Social studies department head Carley Kregness said Regionals was successful.

“We had 10 projects present there, some were individual and some were group. Students worked hard to improve their projects before they went and most of them were excited and sometimes nervous to present to the judges there,” Kregness said. “Four out of 10 (projects) went on (to State). That’s pretty awesome. That’s forty percent, so I think that’s great.”

Stone said her presentation on the Stonewall Riots helped her address a controversial topic.

“(Dotan Applebaum and I) talked about how (the Stonewall Riots) was the start of Gay pride and not a lot of people know that, like when you have the Gay parade, people don’t really know its origins,” Stone said. “And, it’s actually more controversial than people would think too, because it did involve somewhat violent protesting and not everyone is so okay with that.”

Stone said she feels the form of your presentation factors into the anxiety level at Regionals.

“I personally wasn’t (nervous at Regionals). I think that if I had done a different style of presentation, I probably would have been, like doing theater performance would be probably more nerve wracking or a website,” Stone said. “With the exhibit, you basically just have your poster up and then you have to talk to some judges. It’s your topic, so obviously you know it well, so it’s not so scary to talk about it with anybody.”

Zirkes said Regionals acted as an opportunity to expose him to students of other schools in Minnesota.

“Regionals was really fun because you got to see all of the projects that come out of different schools around the area, so it’s interesting to see how they compare to what it is like at St. Louis Park,” Zirkes said. “It was pretty interesting.”

Kregness said she believes the History Day Competition provides multiple benefits to high school students.

“The skills (students) learn when they are doing their project are amazing skills of working independently, organizing themselves but also a lot of very concrete research and analysis skills that will help them a lot in their future coursework,” Kregness said.

Kregness said History Day allows students to show their passion for history.

“The competition process gives them a sense of pride and ownership in their project and a chance to defend it and talk to people about it is something they don’t get very much when they’re just inside the school world.”

Zirkes said he looks forward to moving on in the more challenging State competition.

“(The State competition) only going to be a tougher competition,” Zirkes said. “I hope we can move on, but it’s definitely going to be a lot harder than Regionals were.”

According to Kregness, the MN History Day State Competition is April 29 at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. The time each project is scheduled to be judged will be determined after the entry forms are sent.