LILA students advance to History Day state finals

National History Day Contest judges chose the projects of four students from Lakes International Language Academy to advance to the state finals.

Sixth graders Katherine Taylor, Lanea Rohan, Lily Pope and Liliana Rodriguez received high marks for their projects in the March 17 competition.

Each year more than half a million U.S. students participate in the National History Day Contest, focused around a unifying theme. The 2012 theme was “Revolution, Reaction, Reform In History.”

The theme and contest encourage students to rethink the idea of history as memorization of events and dates and gain new perspectives and understanding.

Each contestant chooses a topic, conducts independent research including authentic source materials, prepares a process paper documenting the student’s journey of research and learning, and creates a presentation.

Katherine Taylor’s presentation centered on America’s fight against polio. She stated, “Before this project, I don’t recall ever hearing the word polio. It made me think: What would I do if I woke up paralyzed tomorrow like polio patients?”

Liliana Rodriguez chose to present her topic “Clara Barton and the Convention of Geneva” as a dramatization in which she wrote and performed a script in the character of Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross.

Lily Pope and Lanea Rohan teamed up to develop their project about the Indian boarding school era, titled “Civilizing Savages,” in which they explored the negative consequences of this reform and how it led to even more reform. They noted, “Understanding this period in history helped us understand the importance of accepting differences in others.”

The state competition will take place Sunday, April 29 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

School Director Cam Hedlund commented, “To see the work these young people are capable of and to listen to how it has impacted their learning is inspiring. My hat is off to all the students involved in History Day and their coaches.”

LILA is a public K-6 International Baccalaureate World School offering both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese immersion tracks tuition-free to area children. LILA will host a school tour on Wednesday, April 11 from 8:30-10 a.m. and an open house for families of preschoolers on Saturday, April 14 from 10-11:30 a.m.

Call 651-464-0771 today to reserve a space. For more information visit