FL students advance to national history competition

Community Editor

After earning a trip to compete in this summer’s National History Day Contest, two Forest Lake High School students also received an invitation to visit the organization whose history they profiled.

On May 8, Lily Pope and Kate Mahonen set up their exhibit on the history of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation at the nonprofit organization’s headquarters in Center City, where they also got to meet and discuss their project with CEO and President Mark Mishek.

“It was great to have Lily and Kate visit our headquarters in Center City, where the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s rich history began modestly in a single farmhouse in 1949, Mishek said in a press release. “We’ve come a long way since then, with 17 sites now nationally, including the world-famous Betty Ford Center in California, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.”

The duo advanced to the national competition after placing second in the exhibit board category at the State History Day competition, held April 29 at the University of Minnesota.

The National History Day contest will be held June 11 to 15 in College Park, Md. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.” Each year, nearly 3,000 students with their families and teachers gather at the University of Maryland for the weeklong event. Established in 1974, National History Day activities engage more than a half million middle and high school students every year.

Mishek said he learned that the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is also the subject of a documentary created by a student in Long Island, NY, who qualified for the National History Day Contest with a video on the legacy of former First Lady Betty Ford.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of addiction treatment and recovery resources, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center.

“It’s a disease that has been stigmatized historically, but more and more, people are seeing addiction as the treatable health condition it has always been, rather than as a moral failing,” Mishek said in a press release.

“The matter-of-fact curiosity and concern of bright young students like Lily and Kate is another promising indication that we are making progress in bringing addiction out of the shadows. And their piece furthers the cause by creating even more healthy conversation.”