Historical figures on display at Spring View

Middle school studies legacies, lives of varied individuals
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Spring View Middle School’s library was filled with memories of numerous individuals who made a stamp in history on Friday. It was all on display for the school-sponsored Placer County History Day. More than 40 students participated in the event, completing projects on the lives of an “Individual in History: Actions and Legacies,” inclu-ding the lives of Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Dr. Seuss and Belle Boyd, among others. Students selected their own subjects, either from the list provided by their English teacher and Placer County History Day organizer Lynne Meiers or a historical figure that caught their eye. Eighth-grader Bradley Valencuela chose to do his project on Frank Sinatra. “I love music and my great grandfather knew him,” he said. “He used to golf with him at Cal Neva.” Although he knew of some of Sinatra’s accomplishments as a musician, Valencuela said through his project, he learned that Sinatra starred in the original cast of “Ocean’s Eleven.” Two other Spring View eighth-graders were inspired by their love of chocolate for their history project. They chose to research Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s chocolate. “We like eating chocolate and we thought it was a fun idea,” team member Lexie May said. Together May and Madeline Lewis created a display board covered with chocolate brown striped fabric, complete with photos of Hershey and a bag full of Hershey’s chocolates. Throughout the day, students and teams visited the school library to meet with judges, who asked them questions on their historic figure and rated the projects based on a criteria sheet. Carol Powell, a member of the Rocklin Historical Society, and Kim Amalong, computer center technician, were among the many judging teams. One of the things Powell said she was looking for was, “did this person that they selected actually make a change?” In addition to judging group boards, Powell also had a few written assignments to judge. “I am astounded by the quality of them, they’re amazing,” Powell said. Other judges included librarians, a school board member, Sacramento State teacher and other teachers. The competition included 45 students, with all but one from Spring View – one student attends Olympus Junior High in Roseville. Each student had the opportunity to do an individual or team project and could choose their category from paper, exhibit board, documentary, performance and Web site. From Friday’s competition, the top two entries go on to compete at the state level, held next month in Sacramento, Meiers said. “It’s amazing what these kids can do,” she said. “They have been so excited this past week.” Although every one of her students completed a project, students had the option to compete in Placer County History Day, Meiers said. Students Lina Tran and Angelica Kircher were among those that chose to compete. Their project on Lewis Hine – capturing the moment, really stood out to Amalong as a judge. The duo decided on an exhibit board presentation with a baby blue background, covered with photos and bits of Hine’s achievements, with brown handprints throughout the board and the word “help!” written at the bottom. Kircher said they chose the baby blue because it represents the children as babies and the handprints show that they need help, as Hine was a photographer who used his camera to show child labor. Other projects included a group-designed Web site on Malcom X; another student created a documentary on Belle Boyd and others designed a wood board on Dr. Seuss. State finals will be held April 30 through May 3 in Sacramento. Contact Lauren Weber at