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Friends award State History Day Prizes for 2004

State History Day Participation

Background and Details

The 2004 State History Day was held at the U of MN's Coffman Union on May 2. The theme was "Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in History." This was the 12th year the Friends participated in Minnesota's History Day, providing prizes for the best senior and junior projects relating to immigration history.

Andrea Burns, IHRC COLLAGE research specialist and former coordinator of History Day for the U's History Department, was a volunteer judge for the Friends.

Senior Division: ($100)

Winner: "Aqui Me Quedo: Latinos on Lake Street," a group exhibit by Minneapolis South High School students Marley Alexis, Brian Fitzpatrick, Erik Underwood, and Emily Hager-Garman, was awarded the $100 senior prize.

The exhibit explores the businesses and community institutions that have been created by Latino immigrants living in the culturally and linguistically diverse Lake Street neighborhood in Minneapolis. As part of their research, the South High students conducted interviews with Latinos living in the Lake Street community. The interviews explored issues such as what the Lake Street neighborhood means to them, why they immigrated to Minnesota, and why, as the project title indicates, "here I stay."

Junior Division: ($50)

Winner: "Coming to America: A Collision Between Two Worlds," a Junior Group Media project by Capitol Hill Magnet School (St. Paul) students Mary Vang, Janette Xiong, and Sai Vang, won the $50 junior prize.

It is a documentary-style video project that tackles the history of Hmong immigration to the United States—and more specifically, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area—after the Vietnam War. The documentary, which is composed of many oral interviews with family members and Hmong American junior high school students, examines the cultural transitions and challenges that many young immigrants face, such as what it means when Hmong is spoken at home but English is spoken at school, the merging of Christianity and traditional Hmong beliefs, and the conflict and compromises that occur when one claims both a "Hmong" and an "American" identity.

The History Day competition is a nationwide effort first held in 1980 that encourages young people to take an interest in history. Minnesota's State History Day is cosponsored by the University's History Department and the Minnesota Historical Society..About 30,000 Minnesota students in grades 6-12 take part each year, placing Minnesota among the top five states in participation. Students are always encouraged to use the Center's resources for their projects. An article about History Day in the Pioneer Press (posted 12/17/03) quotes Mark Robinson, spokesman for the National History Day competition, who said "Minnesota is one of the top programs in the country." According to the article, about 30,000 Minnesota students in grades 6-12 take part each year. For more information about History Day, including how Minnesota participants did at the 2003 national competition in June 2003, go to the Minnesota History Day website. For information on National History Day, see

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