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Immigration History Research Center

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2009 History Day

State History Day Participation

Background and Details

The 2009 National History Day theme was "The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies." Judges for the Immigration history award included Kalju Kubits, Haven Hawley, and Bernard Maegi. Congratulations to the following students whose projects were cited for excellence:

Erik Hilgren – “Ansel Adams: The Manzanar Photographs,” (Senior Individual Documentary)

A technically superb documentary of the time and circumstances surrounding the photographic work of Ansel Adams documenting the Manzanar internment camp for Japanese-Americans during WW II.

Joseph Gifford, Rebekah Nelson, Jenny Klejeski – “George Gershwin: He’s Got Plenty O’ Somethin’,” (Senior Group Performance)

A musical performance highlighting how George Gershwin, son of Russian Jewish immigrants, profoundly affected American popular music by combining the music of the Old World, both classical and folk, with jazz.

Sarah Yang – “Restoring Roots: Xang Vang and the Regeneration of Minnesota’s Hmong Economy,” (Senior Individual Website)

The powerful infl uence of one individual in meshing the agricultural traditions of Hmong immigrants to new opportunities in the Twin Cities is documented in the new website exhibit format, aided by bilingual research and personal interviews.

Fredy Perez Vasquez, Phuoc Huynh, Yer Xiong – “Bruce Vento,” (Senior Group Exhibit)

The display covers the 10-year history of Rep. Bruce Vento’s successful attempt to pass the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act, incorporating bilingual research and providing primary documentation of a little-researched topic.

Monica Bueltel – “Jan Wegrzyn: An Ordinary Individual Who Worked for An Extraordinary Cause,” (Junior Individual Exhibit)

A student’s exploration of her own ethnic roots, focusing on her grandfather, Jan Wegrzyn, who was a leader of Solidarity. Through interviews conducted in Polish in the United States and extensive background research, the project pieces together a historic international moment.

Ruth Kostohris – “Radical Actions in the Name of Loyalty: The Legacy of the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety and Its Impact on German-Americans in WWI,” ( Senior Paper)

A well-written and researched paper exploring the relationship of community governance and immigrant experience during wartime in the state of Minnesota.

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