Reporting LIVE from University of Maryland….

DSC_0653Reporting LIVE from the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland.  I’m here with my fourteen year old daughter, Eliza, and her good friend and History Day partner.

Let me start from the beginning.  Eliza, as an eighth grader, had the option to enter a district history day competition this past March.  This year’s theme was Innovation in History. Students across the country compete in this contest at the local level, with the hopes of earning a right to attend the National Conference.  Entrants can write a paper, do an exhibit, film a documentary, develop a website, or put on a performance related to their topic.  Not a school requirement, and far from enthusiastic about entering the contest, Eliza and her friend were persuaded by their well meaning parents to enter the contest.  Finally acquiescing, they chose a topic right up their ally – Innovation in Snowboarding and it’s Impact on the Ski Industry (click here to watch). I must say I was amazed at their chutzpah in attacking their project.  They instantly lined up a list of interviews, which included a list of  Editors of most Ski and Snowboarding magazines, as well as a professional snowboarder.  At the district competition, they placeed 2nd in the group documentary division.  They then progressed to the State competition, where they placed first, much to all of our jubilant surprise (including that of some random specatators, who blatantly reacted to their historical topic of snowboarding with a response such as … “Snowboarding… how odd?!”).

The best thing about this contest at this point was the sheer confidence booster this provided to these two young girls.  This plus the experience of showing and representing their project in front of a panel of judges was a wonderful experience.

So Sunday we drove down to University of Maryland, and checked into our hotel in Dupont Circle in DC.  There are kids here from every state.  There’s no way I could complain about our 5 hour drive, as we passed by cars with license plates from Iowa, Wyoming, Texas, Ohio.   Monday, we were Washington tourists in the morning, exploring the Newseum.  If anyone  has the chance to viisit this museum while visiting DC, I highly recommend it.  It’s an amazing walk through history – and the two hours we spent there was just the tip of the iceberg.  I could have easily spent a day there.  The stories, pictures, and film document the amazing stories of our history.  There is an exhibit of the Berlin Wall – including actual sections of the Berlin Wall which tells the story of East and West Germany.  And of course an exhibit on 9/11 -which I cannot look at without getting emotional.

From the Newsmuseum we went out to the University of Maryland, where the girls were scheduled to present their documentary. They showed their film, then were questioned by a panel of three judges for ten minutes or so.  Us Moms were very proud of their maturity, composure and ability to answer the questions so well.

So then we entered the waiting game…. second round winners were going to be announced at 7PM – only ten finalists would be announced out of 100+ entries.  Eliza seriously commented that she now knew how Obama felt waiting for the Presidential election results to come in….

So did they make it?  Unfortunately not.  As we plan another day of sightseeing in Washington, I think they will get over it.  The good news is, they got a great taste of how delicious success can be, and how hard work can pay off.  And they’re already discussing next year’s History Day theme, with no prodding from their parents.


  • Elaine Says:
    6-16-2010 06:27:41

    Sounds like great fun! Congrats to Eliza and her snowboarding partner.

  • ann Says:
    6-16-2010 08:31:46

    A wonderful trip. Way to go, Eliza! So many things to do and see in D.C. The benefits of the experience of participating–and succeeding will be of lasting value! love ann

  • Stacy Says:
    6-16-2010 10:32:59

    Wow Anne…..LIVE BLOGGING! I’ve already mentioned to Eliza how amazing her presentation is but I’m happy to say it again here! YAY ELIZA (and good friend) on a job extremely well done! AWESOME!!!!!!

  • grandma Says:
    6-16-2010 15:01:59

    We are SO proud of you. Here’s to more memorable trips with your mom, Meri and her mom.

  • grandma Says:
    6-16-2010 15:01:59

    We are SO proud of you. Here’s to more memorable trips with your mom, Meri and her mom.

  • Proud Mom Says:
    6-17-2010 09:32:39

    These Girls Rule and their experience brings new meaning to the song “Don’t Fence Me In.” Just like snowboarding, their approach was out of bounds with passion to boot. Devils Rope be damned!

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