Teton County students won many awards at a state history competition and will now face off against kids from around America.

Jackson students regularly compete and do well in the National History Day competition. The point is to excite kids about history and have them look to primary sources, rather than a history book, to complete research.

The theme this year was triumph and tragedy in history.

Four students from Jackson Hole Middle School made it to nationals for the junior division. They were Kyra Russell, who wrote a formal paper on how Seabiscuit and the legalization of gambling on horse racing in some states elevated the national mood of the United States and alleviated some of the pain of the Great Depression; Becca Moll, with her individual exhibit on the 33-year history of heart transplants and the organ donation system and how the transplants provide longer, more engaging lives for those who receive them; and a group project between Acacia Laprade and Rye Hansen on the history of the Space Shuttle Challenger NASA project and how its last tragic flight led NASA to develop essential safety protocols and technological advancements to ensure accidents like the explosion never happen again.

High schoolers did well at the state competition in Laramie as well. Freshmen at Jackson Hole High School worked on National History Day projects as an independent study extension of their U.S. history classes. First- and second-place winners are headed to nationals.

They include Beckett Lucas-Griffin and Colin Reese for their documentary on the Manhattan Project; the group performances of Lydia Thiess and Sydney Crothers on Pearl Harbor and Kate Frederick and Sydney Wilmot on the D-Day invasion; the websites of Mia Fishman, Nicholas Janssen and Eddie Owens about Muhammad Ali’s antiwar objections; Brandon Brazil, Max French and Wyatt Mommsen’s website about President Harry Truman’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Maya Ferris’ performance on Katharine Wright.

Virginia Girling, who took second place in the individual documentary category for her work on Katherine Johnson and the “great space race,” also won the Elizabeth Chambers Best Project in the State Award and the University of Wyoming History Outstanding Research Award.

Lizzy Robinson, Morgan May and Sophie Morgan’s website on the St. Francis Mission Boarding School was awarded the AHC Native American Heritage Award. The students, along with others who placed third, are considered alternates for nationals.

Two students from the Jackson Hole Community School are also on to nationals: Madeline Webb for her project on serial killer H.H. Holmes and William Aepli for his historical paper on the reversal of the Chicago River as an architectural triumph.

The national competition will be held in June at the University of Maryland.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of the names of the students who did the project on Muhammad Ali's antiwar stance. — Ed.

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079 or schools@jhnewsandguide.com.

Kylie Mohr covers the education and health beats. Mohr grew up in Washington and came to Wyoming via Georgetown. She loves seeing the starry night sky again.

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