Monthly Archives: April 2019

Greendale Middle School Student Qualifies for History Day National Contest

Rachel Kohl's National history Day project

Greendale Middle School student Rachel Kohl is one of two Wisconsin students heading to Maryland in June for the finals of the 2018-2019 National History Day contest. There she will compete against one hundred other middle school students from across the country. Rachel’s project is in the individual exhibit category. Guided by an annual theme, students participating in National History Day are encouraged to choose a topic that matches their personal interests. The 2018-2019 theme is Triumph & Tragedy in History. Students enter their projects in local level contests, with top entries advancing to regional and state/affiliate contests. Along the way, students receive honors, awards, and scholarships. The top two entries from every category are then invited to the National Contest held June 2019 at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Rachel’s project focused on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City on March 11, 1911. This was the deadliest industrial fire in American history. It claimed the lives of 145 people, mostly young immigrant women who spoke no English. They worked in cramped, crowded sweatshop conditions and the deaths were largely preventable. Working on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors in the Asch Building in Manhattan, only one of the four elevators was in working condition and the fire escape was not only very difficult to access, it collapsed under the weight of fleeing workers. There were also two stairways down to the street but one was locked (to prevent workers from stealing materials) and the other had a door that opened inward. As a result, 49 women died in the building, 36 in the elevator shaft, and 58 jumped to their death to try to escape this horrible tragedy. 

For the triumph of this historical event, Rachel focused on changes in laws that both protected workers and kept them safe in the workplace. To keep workers safe, laws were implemented ensuring that doors of factories opened outward, stairways were accessible, fire escapes sturdy and lead to the ground and that sprinkler systems were required in buildings. At the end of her project, Rachel also identifies the struggle women have had in being treated fairly in the workplace, a struggle and tragedy that still exists today.  

More than a half a million middle and high school students from across the country take part in National History Day each year. This project-based contest provides students an opportunity to develop critical thinking and source analysis skills while gaining historical perspective. Participants spend months researching a topic of their choice before presenting their work in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, and website.

Riverside High School robotics team ready for largest STEM gathering in world

Operators Mikalayah Tulloch, Arianna Massey, Damien Berna and Mordechai Tinney guide their 2830 robot.

Two years ago, Arianna Massey was walking through the halls at Riverside University High School as a freshman and came across a classroom where a mini-robotics competition was happening. Although she had no previous experience, she was hooked.

“I liked the energy,” Massey said. 

Now a junior, Massey is in her third consecutive FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics world championship. 

Finding strength in smarts, the RoboTigers took first place in the regional competition in March, beating more than 50 other teams in the Midwest. This week, they are in Detroit for the world championship. The competition started Thursday and ends Saturday. It’s billed as the world’s largest STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) gathering.

The RoboTigers have been working toward this goal all semester, practicing 20 hours a week starting in January when they were given the game their robot would have to be able to play. 

Erik Orlowski, a fifth-year UWM electrical engineering student, is a mentor for the team. He talked about the challenges the team has faced due to the economic makeup of the area. He and the team’s coach, Chris Levas, spend a lot of time getting the students to meetings and balancing their school life with robotics.

Read the complete article.

Grafton district earns national honor for music education

The Grafton School District’s music program has earned national recognition for outstanding commitment to music education.

In March, the district received the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation from the National Association of Music Merchants.

“It’s nice to bring awareness to what we’re doing in the music department,” said Maggie Condon, Grafton High School choral teacher and vocal music director.

“A lot of times people just see the performance side of what we do and don’t look at it from an academic standpoint.”

To earn the designation, districts must demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. 

Read the complete article.