UW’s American Heritage Center announces Wyoming History Day winners

Over 100 students from across Wyoming participated in the in-person return of Wyoming History Day, which took place on April 25 at the University of Wyoming.

Wyoming History Day, an affiliate of National History Day, is a year-long educational program that culminates in the national contest every June. Wyoming History Day is administered by UW’s American Heritage Center (AHC) in partnership with the Wyoming State Historical Society.

Students participated in yearlong research projects based on this year’s National History Day theme: “Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.”

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“Wyoming History Day is a program that encourages students to explore and experience topics in history that they usually would not have the ability to study,” says Cameron Green, Wyoming State History Day coordinator. “The program provides students the ability to make choices in their education while teaching them lifelong critical thinking and analytical skills.”

National History Day engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries and informative papers based on research related to an annual theme. The projects are then presented and evaluated at local, state and national competitions.

Wyoming History Day gave away $11,800 in cash prizes and sponsorships from the AHC; Brigida Blasi, Ginny Kilander and Elizabeth Kuntz; the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum; Jacques Laramie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; National Society of Colonial Dames in Wyoming; the Stepans Family; UW American Studies Program; UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages; Wyoming Archaeology Society; Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists; Wyoming Humanities; Wyoming Outdoor Council; Wyoming State Bar; Wyoming State Historical Society; and the Wyoming State Library.

First-, second- and third-place Wyoming History Day winners in junior and senior categories, listed by hometowns, are:

Casper — Patrick McGrath, Hayden Pindell and Landon Speiser, first place, senior group exhibits, “Iranian Hostage Crisis: Downfall of Diplomacy”; Samuel Houck, Brayden Johnson and Ethan Morrison, second place, senior group exhibits, “How Ping-Pong Diplomacy Helped Thaw the Cold War: U.S./China Relations”; Tavia Ossa, first place, senior individual exhibits, “The Cuban Missile Crisis: How Diplomacy Averted Nuclear War”; and Lily Reed, third place, senior individual websites, “The Peace Corps: Humanitarian Diplomacy.”

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Cody — Michelle Montalvo-Hernandez, third place, senior individual exhibits, “Chicano Moratorium”; and Josefina Blain, first place, senior historical papers, “Coal Slurry Competes in the Coal Market Against the Railroads’ Monopoly.”

Greybull — Bradin Ewen, Charles Fink and Jack Pharaoh, first place, junior group documentaries, “The Roots of the Civil War”; Camila Acuna, Sherlyn Diaz-Rios and Imelda Mendez, second place, junior group documentaries, “Cesar Chavez”; Shayne Cheatham and Lucian Hoffman, first place, junior group websites, “The Treaty of Versailles and the First World War: A Delve Into the German Disaster”; Kylie Benaski and Gatlin Good, third place, junior group websites, “Matthew Shepard”; Kamryn Good, second place, junior individual documentaries, “The Dirty War”; Travis Davis and Maliyah Porras, first place, senior group websites, “The Impact of the Chicano Movement”; Edith Aguilar, third place, senior individual documentaries, “The Rise and Fall of the Fort Laramie Treaty”; and Jose Atilano, third place, senior historical papers, “Debate and Diplomacy on the Latin American Drug War: The United States Involvement Failed Mankind.”

Jackson — Anna Baxter and Maddie Krasula, second place, junior group exhibits, “The Chain Reaction That Led to the Creation of the Atomic Bomb”; Aaron Larsen and Jesse Larsen, third place, senior group exhibits, “Jackie Robinson’s Strive Toward Diplomacy”; Abigail Doering, second place, senior individual documentaries, “National Women’s Party”; Joe Ornowski, first place, senior individual websites, “Rock Springs Massacre”; Colette Danby, second place, senior individual websites, “Katherine Johnson: Fighting Structural Racism at NASA”; and Kate Mann, second place, senior historical papers, “Rock Springs Massacre.”  

Lander — Lachlan Gebhart, first place, junior individual documentaries, “Wolves: Bloodthirsty Menaces or Stewards of the Land?”; Zoe Szymanski, first place, junior historical papers, “The Five-Year Plan of Cold, Hard, Steel: The Debate Over Soviet Industrialization”; and Ash Carlson, second place, junior historical papers, “The Constitution: Who Are the People in America.”   

Laramie — Ruby Homer-Wambeam, first place, senior individual documentaries, “A Debate Over Freedom and Cultural Diplomacy: How the Beatles Inspired a Generation to Make Change Back in the U.S.S.R.” 

Pinedale — Charlie Irrgang, first place, junior individual exhibits, “Triangle Shirtwaist Fire”; Kristian Ruch, second place, junior individual exhibits, “The Controversies and Negotiations of the League of Nations”; and Wyatt Griffin, second place, senior individual exhibits, “The Delicate Fall of the Berlin Wall.”   

Powell — Alexa Johnston, second place, junior individual websites, “Oskar Schindler’s Quest to Save Lives Through Diplomacy”; and Gabriella Ward and Gracilynn Ward, first place, senior group documentaries, “How Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Paved the Way to the Nineteenth Amendment.”   

Shoshoni — Tace Frank, third place, junior individual websites, “Louisiana Purchase.”

Upton — Addison Gustaf, Isabella Keller and Xyla Rehling, first place, junior group exhibits, “The Diplomatic Journey to Freedom”; Rylee Donner, Lilly Jackson and Caden Simianer, second place, junior group performances, “Title IX”; and Gwendalyn Murray, third place, junior historical papers, “History of Child Labor Laws.”  

Wheatland — Maggie Hicks and Halle Mickelsen, third place, junior group documentaries, “Not A Drop to Spare”; Lily Anderson, Carly Robertson and Haidyn Sisson, first place, junior group performances, “Wichowayake”; Karley Adams and Halle Huston, second place, junior group websites, “Have You No Sense of Decency?”; and Kaidyn Kasun, first place, junior individual websites, “‘I PLEDGE MYSELF’ — The Debate & Diplomacy of the Roosevelts.” 

Special Award Winners

In addition to having an opportunity to compete at the national finals, the students at the state contest received special awards and scholarships that are sponsored by various UW departments, organizations and associations throughout Wyoming, and state businesses.

The special award winners, listed by hometown, are:

Casper — Houck, Johnson and Morrison, Excellence in Exhibits Award; McGrath, Pindell and Speiser, Gerald & Jessie F. Chambers Award; and Ossa, Wyoming State Historical Society Scholarship.

Cody — Montalvo-Hernandez, Caroline Lockhart Historic Newspaper Award.

Greybull — Ewen, Fink and Pharaoh, Documentarian Award; Acuna, Diaz-Rios and Mendez, Liz Byrd Cultural Diversity Award; Aguilar, Native American Heritage Award; Liz Boyer, Jurisprudence Award, “Celia v. The State of Missouri”; Yandel Hernandez, Caden Hunt and Caiden Sorenson, Dr. Joseph Stepans Award, “A Time in History: Black 14 Wyoming”; Michelle Stebner, Dr. Robert Campbell Teacher Award; and Davis and Porras, George and Linda LaBarre Scholarship.

Jackson — Danby, Women in History Award; Baxter and Krasula, Jim Gatchell History of Science Award; and Mann, Dr. Joseph Stepans Award.

Lander — Szymanski, Grace Raymond Hebard Historian Award; Carlson, Sissy Goodwin Award; and Gebhart, Gerald & Jessie F. Chambers Award.

Laramie — Homer-Wambeam, AHC Gerald & Jessie Chambers Scholarship and Creativity Award.

Pinedale — Griffin, Mark A. Greene Excellence Award.

Powell — Aly Morrow, Wyoming Archaeology Award, “Hanging Gardens of Babylon.”   

Shoshoni — Natalie Gilbertson, Clara Jensen Award, “Nellie Tayloe Ross”; Kanin Walters and Eckley Winfield, Family History Award, “The Original Marlboro Man”; and Cameron Brown, Tom Bell Environmental History Award, “Wind Turbines.” 

Upton — Donner, Jackson and Simianer, DAR Award; and Murray, Jurisprudence Award.

Wheatland — Anderson, Robertson and Sisson, Oration Award; and Hicks and Mickelsen, William H. Barton Award.

First- and second-place winners from Wyoming History Day move on to the National History Day competition.

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