Chief Umtuch And Pleasant Valley Students Win Top Honors At The Regional History Day Competition

March 6, 2014 BGPS Web

Chief Umtuch And Pleasant Valley Students Win Top Honors At The Regional History Day Competition

Date: March 6, 2014

Chief Umtuch And Pleasant Valley Students Win Top Honors At The Regional History Day Competition

Left to right: Charles Chadbourn (Professor of Strategy at Naval War College, Washington D.C. and competition judge) Pleasant Valley Middle School students, Donovan Benko, Lilly Perrin, and Lauren Blechschmidt, and Hannah Tofte (Washington State History Office Judge)
Battle Ground, WA – Dozens of Battle Ground Public Schools’ students competed against students from 15 regional schools during the annual SW Washington Regional History Day on February 22 at Pleasant Valley Middle School. Chief Umtuch and Pleasant Valley middle school students took home top place finishes advancing them to the state competition at Green River Community College on May 3, 2014. The regional event is part of the National History Day competition. More than half a million students from across the country participate in similar regional events with the hope of competing on the national level hosted by University of Maryland in June. 

This year’s theme is “Rights and Responsibilities in History.” Students conduct research on a particular event in history related to the theme and present their findings as a paper, exhibit, documentary, performance, or website.  Students can submit projects as an individual or as a team with up to five members. Each school has a lead teacher that supports the students’ research and presentations. “This is always an exciting event,” said Irene Soohoo, Pleasant Valley Middle School history teacher. “The students work very hard developing their projects and presentations. We are always impressed with the quality of work and knowledge students gain by participating each year.” 

Battle Ground Public Schools has been a part of this event since 1993 and continues the legacy of producing winning entries. “We’ve had multiple students compete at the national level,” said Soohoo. “We congratulate all of our regional winners and are excited to see how far our students can go this year.” 

State qualifiers from Chief Umtuch and Pleasant Valley middle schools are listed below. 

Chief Umtuch Middle School State Qualifiers:

Lead Teachers: Beth Doughty and Jon Nesbitt

Second Place:

  • Joseph Vaugh, Andrew Pham, Kyle Oehler, group documentary; “Japanese Internment”
  • Quentin Carver, individual website; “Scopes Trial”
Third Place:

  • Zach Walters, Killian Griffin, group documentary; “Berlin Wall”
  • Maxton Greener,  David Tormanen, and Kolton Opdahl, group performance; “Julio- Claudian Dynasty”
  • Mark Forstrom, individual performance; “Scandinavian Immigration”

Fourth Place:

  • Malia Meyer, Jordyn Shaw, Hannah Stuchlik, Kylie Sahota, group documentary; “The Columbia River Crossing”
    • This project also won the Richard Anderson Award presented by Clark County Historical Museum recognizing research on a local topic. 
Sixth Place:

  • Zachary Wannamaker and Devan Feb, group exhibit; “Restrictions on Tobacco Advertising”
Pleasant Valley Middle School State Qualifiers:

Lead Teacher: Irene Soohoo

First Place:

  • Jethro Abatayo and Logan Gibert, group documentary; “Vietnam Prisoners of War: Taking Responsibility When Deprived of All Rights”
  • Mary Lynn McLeod and Bailey McCormick, group performance; “Kip Kinkel, Juvenile Killer: Gun Rights v Parental Responsibilities”
  • Simon Benko, individual performance; “Fish-ins: Non-violent Protests to Restore Native American Fishing Rights”

Second Place:

  • Ally Orr, individual exhibit; “Hanford Nuclear Waste 1943-2014: Seventy-one Years of Denial and Delay; a Disaster Waiting to Happen”
  • Donovan Benko, Lauren Blechschmidt, Lilly Perrin; group exhibit; “The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens 1980: Property Rights v Government Agencies’ Responsibilities”
  • Emily Scott and Sarah Shirley, group website; “Mandatory Vaccination v Anti-Vaccination: Public Health v Personal Responsibility”

Fourth Place:

  • Alec Thornburg, individual exhibit; “Hitler Youth, Japanese Internment, and Civilian Public Service: Contrasting Rights and Responsibilities during World War II”

For more information on National History Day competition please visit their website at  

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