Cartmell’s junior historians shine at Ky. convention

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Cartmell students in the school’s chapter of the Kentucky Junior Historical Society earned several top honors at the 2013 state convention and Kentucky History Day at the University of Louisville on Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27.  The club won the youth division “History Bowl” competition; placed first, second, and third on the history test; and earned first in group documentary category.


Excited about sharing the good news with their high school mentor, freshman Alex Jeffrey, the Cartmell students walked over to Carroll County High School with sponsor Mary Louden and principal Doug Oak. After sharing news of their accomplishments, they surprised Jeffrey, who did not attend the conference, with his own award. Chosen from among all middle and high school KJHS members in the commonwealth, Jeffrey received the Outstanding Member Award. Louden said she nominated Jeffrey because of his dedication to the local chapter of the state organization.

“Alex has been involved with KJHS since he was a fourth grader,” said Louden, who pointed out that Jeffrey has volunteered almost every Friday during the school year for the past four years to help out the younger students at Cartmell on their projects.

Jeffrey’s assistance has apparently paid off for several members who won awards at the recent convention.

Dylan Dermon placed first in the Kentucky History test, while Katie Osborne and Andrea Searcy placed second and third, respectively. Louden said the students answered both multiple choice and short-answer questions on their knowledge of Kentucky history.

The school’s history bowl team, which captured first place, also displayed it knowledge of Kentucky history by answering questions quickly. In history bowl competition, five-member teams face each and try to correctly answer as many questions as possible in two six-minute rounds. As a moderator reads questions aloud, the teams tap a buzzer for the opportunity to answer the question. Correct answers earn a point for the team.  An incorrect answer gives the opponent five seconds to capture the point and a chance to select the category from which the next question is asked.  Cartmell’s team members include Emily Blackburn, Deaton Oak, Katie Osborne, Andrea Searcy and Lily Young.

In addition to answering questions, students demonstrate their understanding of Kentucky history by researching a personally-chosen topic during the year and then presenting their conclusions in a variety of ways, including dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, websites and research papers.

Intrigued by the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player to play in the Major Leagues, Deaton Oak, Dylan Dermon and Luke Heveline created a documentary about Robinson and his relationship with Kentucky player Pee Wee Reese. Oak had portrayed Reese earlier in a “Living History Museum” for the school’s Winter Artist’s Showcase. Their documentary earned first place in the youth group documentary category.

Katie Osborne and Emily Blackburn placed second at the convention with their exhibit centered on Laura Clay, who helped Kentucky women to earn the right to vote. The students had to use primary and secondary sources to create a museum-like exhibit, which they displayed at the convention.

“As a former high school history teacher who loves Kentucky history, it’s exciting to see kids interested in pursuing something that is so vital to our democracy,” Oak said. “As a parent, it’s refreshing to see hard work pay off. These students have been working long hours throughout the year gaining a deeper understanding of their topic. I also appreciate all of Ms. Louden’s hard work in staying after school and working with the students.”

For more information on the Kentucky Junior Historical Society, visit the organization’s website at www.history.ky.gov/kjhs.


Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.