North Lakes Academy students advance in National History Day competition

Two students from North Lakes Academy in Forest Lake were named state qualifiers, and three were given honorable mentions, at the Metro Senior Regional History Day event at Augsburg College in Minneapolis on Tuesday, March 25.

Sophomores Noah Nei and Zoe Deal were selected to represent the region at the State History Day competition.

Honorable mentions were awarded to sophomores Logan Haller and Sophie Crowell and to junior Spencer Hammersten.

“I’m always inspired when students become teachers. That’s the best kind of learning,” said Eric Nelson, the U.S. history teacher who began the National History Day tradition at North Lake Academy five years ago.

All sophomores and juniors complete the project – sophomores for the U.S. history class and juniors for world history — and all of them participate in the school-level history day competition. A handful of students move on to regional and state competitions.

“I’m proud that, for my entire career at North Lakes Academy, we’ve sent a student to state,” said Chris Stewart, world history teacher at NLA. “This is the first year we’ve had students try performances, and both of them got honorable mentions at the regional level.”

The competition is divided into different ways of presenting the information. Crowell and Hammersten created performances, while Deal, Haller, and Nei created documentaries. Other category options included an exhibit board, a Web site and a research paper.

“I thought [making a documentary] would be challenging and enjoyable,” said Nei, who researched baseball player Jackie Robinson’s impact on civil rights.

Haller described the documentary process as “more rewarding than [making] a poster board,” referring to the exhibit category, where information is presented on a cardboard display.

Deal chose a documentary because it was the most effective way to present her information, which included visuals, sound and dialogue.

“It was the best depiction of the 1920s and flappers. It’s hard to understand some things without visuals,” she said.

Now Nei and Deal will use feedback from the regional judges to polish their projects for the state competition on Saturday, May 3, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.