Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Parrott Middle's history fair is more than dates, facts


Tolicia Roberts has learned about baseball legend Jackie Robinson, the history of dentures, and the pros and cons of single-sex classrooms during her years at Parrott Middle School.

All of these issues were subjects she studied as part of the history fair the school holds each year.

"It gives you time to learn about the past and the future," the 13-year-old eighth-grader said.

To prepare for this year's theme, "Debate and Diplomacy," Tolicia said she typed in "modern debates" to find an interesting topic.

Parrott Middle's history fair coordinator, sixth-grade social studies teacher Laura Jean Lewis, said the fair is part of a national competition, National History Day, and elementary and secondary schools are invited to participate at local levels.

Winners progress to state levels and then to the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Lewis sees value in history fair participation. "I think it's vital that we know who we are and where we came from," she said. "It's not just to learn about your roots."

Students enter the contest in one of five categories and work individually or in small groups. They have the choice of producing a documentary, an exhibit, a research paper, a Web page or a performance.

Those who are selected in first or second place at the school level are eligible to continue to the district competition at Springstead High School.

The students each begin the project with a thesis. They research it, listing their sources, a process that Lewis explained encourages thought and research skills.

A walk around the media center as the students recently prepared their presentations revealed a diversity of topics. They include the Holocaust, the Salem witch trails, healthy eating, positive use or waste of time, and Dred Scott, a slave in the United States who sued unsuccessfully for his freedom.

Parrott Middle Title 1 educator Kris Noto, who has been assisting with the history fair, noted, "The kids do a lot of work. I think it teaches students about history and prepares them for what is needed in higher education."

Eighth-grader Christina Konieczka, 14, did her project on "Nature vs. Nurture," by studying twins and how they did similar things throughout their lives. She and her teammate, eighth-grader Brittany Clayton, 13, produced a PowerPoint presentation. "At the end we let them (viewers) decide. 'You choose nature or nurture' ," she said.

Eighth-graders Gabrielle Stephens, 13, and Christine Collier, 14, teamed up to study music and teens, calling their project "Music and Misfits."

"A long time ago, (certain) music wasn't allowed," said Christine.

"And parents really didn't approve," added Gabrielle.

"Of teens," Christine finished, the two referring to parents objecting to rock 'n' roll. "A long time ago," it turns out, was the 1950s and '60s.

Having done projects throughout middle school, Christine agreed that the fairs are a good idea, "Because you can learn a lot from history, so history can't repeat itself," she said, adding, "Unless it's good. I've learned a lot doing the history fair from the last two years."

Brittany agreed. "I think younger teens can learn a lot from researching facts and learning what their parents went through," she said.

Debbie Cooper, the media center paraprofessional, appreciates how the history fair benefits the students.

"They learn to research, sort and organize," she said. "Every aspect helps them in their future lives. A couple of them have told me about how proud they are of what they accomplished."

Parrott Middle's history fair is more than dates, facts 02/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments


    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Massive crocodile seen roaming the streets, and there was only 1 thing a cop could do


    Name one thing you really don't want to see around 4 a.m. walking around your neighborhood.

    Watch out for that croc.

    A crocodile was seen roaming a street in Miami-Dade.
  3. Pinellas County Sheriff's employee resigns under investigation related to domestic violence arrest


    LARGO — A civilian Pinellas County Sheriff's Office employee resigned Tuesday while under an internal investigation that began after he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

    Joshua Volz resigned Tuesday from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He had been under investigation after he was arrested for domestic battery, according to police. [Pinellas County Jail]
  4. Mom accused of burying guns after fatal teen shooting declines plea deal


    TAMPA — The Valrico mother accused of hiding the guns after her teenage son shot and killed another boy in their garage told a judge Tuesday that she wants a trial, not a plea deal.

    Heidi Quinn is accused of hiding two guns after her son, Cody, fatally shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. She faces charges of tampering with evidence. Her son was not charged in Johnson's death because authorities ruled it self-defense. He does face related drug charges. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Stone says no coordination between Trump campaign and Russia

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone said Tuesday he's "aware of no evidence whatsoever" that Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election.