Student Exhibition Highlights Historical Events

Some people think that history can't be fun or interesting. For more than sixty middle and high school students in Hernando County that's just not the case. These students competed in the annual History Fair held at Winding Waters K-8 School on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

The judges included a local author, school board members, teachers and other people from the community. This year's theme was Conflict and Compromise. Judges evaluated the projects based on a number of factors. Historical quality, such as accuracy, the depth of the research involved and use of primary sources was weighted heaviest. Relation to the theme was also a deciding factor. It was important that the project showed a clear relationship of conflict leading to compromise. Clarity of presentation dealt with the visual impact of the project and how the material was organized. Lastly, the project had to comply with the rules of the contest.

Alyssa Keene 8th grader at Winding Waters K-8 School

Students were allowed to present their projects in a number of ways. They could do a research paper, create a website or a documentary, make an exhibit using pictures and text or do a performance about their topic. The students could work individually or as a group. Individual and group projects were separate and projects were divided into two categories for the purpose of judging – Junior (sixth through eighth grade) and Senior (ninth through twelfth grade).

Most of the projects covered American history; however, some depicted European, Asian and African history. Many highlighted events that most people aren't familiar with.

Lacy Pennell depicting 1st. Japanese Prime Minister

For example, Abigail Kiser, an 11th grader at Weeki Wachee High School, presented an exhibit on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that took place in New York in 1911. This was her third year competing in the History Fair.

“I decided to do this topic because I like obscure history. I like learning about things that pretty much no one knows about. That way I can teach other people about it,” Abigail remarked.

She spoke in depth about her topic, revealing the research she had done and the knowledge she had acquired about this little-known historic event. Her display consisted of pictures, headlines from newspapers of that time and quotes from books.

Lacy Pennell depicting 1st. Japanese Prime Minister

Sixth graders Colton Ashworth and Carlo Oliveros who attend Parrott Middle School developed a website on the American Revolution. They focused on the causes and major battles of the War for Independence and the treaties that led to compromise. Besides learning more about this important historical event they also gained technical skills.

“The best thing about doing the project was that I got more in depth on the American Revolution,” stated Colton.

Ellie Brannon's presentation of the newsboys strike

“It was finding out how many battles there were,” added Carlo.

The one-month process of completing their project was not without its challenges.

“Creating the process paper was the hardest part, for me,” Carlo remarked.

“The technical things about using the website ‘Weebly,’ like putting the images in, was hard,” Colton stated.

Performance was another way in which students were able to present their projects. The topics and performances varied greatly – from a song and dance routine by Weeki Wachee High School student Ellie Brannan highlighting the strike of the newspaper boys in New York City to a performance by Central High School student Riane Tolliver about Bonnie and Clyde. From a group performance by Weeki Wachee K-8 students depicting the Salem Witch Trials to an original poem recited by Lacy Pennell of Weeki Wachee High School based on the diaries of Itō Hirobumi, the first prime minister of Japan.

Ellie Brannon's presentation of the newsboys strike

A number of individuals and groups chose to do a documentary film for their project. The topics included the Manhattan Project, the Bosnian Conflict and politics.

Hayley Crews, a ninth grader at Weeki Wachee High School is a History Fair veteran, having competed twice already. Her documentary was on Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman elected to Congress who was also a presidential candidate in 1972.

For the film, Hayley interviewed people who had either worked with Chisolm or had been inspired by her.

“It was exciting to get their perspective. One of the most important things I got out of my project was inspiration. Learning about influential figures like Chisholm has definitely inspired me to look into social work or politics [as a career],” Hayley remarked.

As with all the contestants, the judges gave feedback to Hayley and advice on ways to improve. When the first, second and third place winners in each grade division and category were announced, Hayley found out her hard work had paid off. She placed first in the Senior Division of Documentaries. This qualifies her for the State competition in Tallahassee. Winners there will move forward to the national competition in Washington D.C.

See below for a list of all the 2018 Hernando County History Fair winners.

To read about last year's history fair go to

2017-2018 Hernando County History Day Results

Junior Division

Research Paper

Helping Hand: Aksumites and Muhammad by Chazelle Edge

Individual Exhibit

Greensboro 4 by Alyssa Keene
Can Separate Really Be Equal? by Payton Griffith
Gideon vs. Wainwright by Savanna Miley
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 by Hannah Bingaman

Group Exhibit

The Vietnam War by Ava Wright and Briannah Wendler
Mary Jackson by Michaela Barber and Cadence Martens
Women’s Suffrage by Jami Szelc, Skye Marosi, and Cora Vandiver
Conflict in Salem: The Salem Witch Trials by Harley Matthews, Alyssa Griffin

Individual Website

Worldwide Conflict and Compromise: The History Behind World War II by Riley Crawford
The 19th Amendment by Katherine Carter

Group Website

American Revolution by Colton Ashworth and Carlo Oliveros
Reconstruction of the South by Cassandra Rober and Natalie Torres
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists by Hannah Taylor, Amelia Jacquinto, and McKenna McGrantham

Individual Documentary

Native American Boarding Schools: Conflicts and Compromise of the “Kill the Indian and Save the Man” Philosophy by Allan An
Indian Removal Act of 1830 by Alexus Partain

Group Documentary

Robert E. Lee: Moral Code vs. Loyalty by Conner Dirksen and Blake Miller
The Constitutional Dispute by Timothy Smith and Kaden Moua

Group Performance

The Salem Witch Accusation of Tituba by Breanna Strickland, Kaitlyn Lambutis, Georgia Johns, Julianna Bodtmann, and Kioni Glasgow

Senior Division

Research Paper

Ryan White: A Conflict and Compromise with the Community by Alexis Bowermaster
African Amricans Battle Against a Two-Front War by Maximilian Wright

Individual Exhibit

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Abigail Kizer
French Wars of Religion by Stephanie England
The Crusade to Vote: the 19th Amendment by Camryn Haynes
The Compromise of Frederick Douglas and the Conflict of John Brown by Paul Rowtie

Group Exhibit

The Fate of the Fallen: Nanjing by Alexandria Crane and Haven Anderson
Nellie Bly: How 10 Days Changed History by Serenity Scott and Hana Abdel Magid
The 19th Amendment by Gabrielle Anderson and Krystal Dalebout
Title IX: An Educational Movement by Rose Colleran and Ellee Palm

Individual Website

The Treaty of Nanjing: the Unequal Compromise by Mikhaela Anderson

Group Website

The U.S. Gains Florida by James Lanier and Beatrice Buck
The Invention of Hangul by Arianna Alvarez and Alexis Rodriguez
The Treaty of Versailles: Prelude to the Second World War by Courtney Delfel, Victoria Sellers, Silycia Castinado and Antonio Cancelli

Individual Documentary

Shirley Chisholm and Her Refusal to Repress by Hayley Crews
Radium Girls by William An
The Bosnian Conflict by Shelby Smith
The Conflict of the Manhattan Project by Michael Hughes

Individual Performance

Seize the Day by Ellie Brannan
The War for Scotland by William Sadr
Restoring Japan: The Meiji Constitution by Lacy Pennell
The Story of Bonnie and Clyde: Their Conflict and Compromise by Riane Tolliver

Group Performance

The Berlin Wall: A Series of Conflicts and Compromises by Ashlyn Hull & Miranda Mays
Conflict and Compromise: The Hawai’ian Annexation and Getting the Oiwi Aloha’s Right to Vote by Natalia Vargas, Lyndsey Becker, Michelle Novas, and Kayla Nieves
The Florida Teacher Strike: Behind the Headlines by Sydney Chastain, Lexie Meyers, and Noah Barone


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