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Rocklin teens nab ‘outstanding’ award at national History Day

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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A writing project turned into so much more for two Rocklin teens. Megan Opfer and Madelyn Starr, now freshmen at Rocklin High School, had no idea their History Day project, a Web site devoted to the life and accomplishments of Hedy Lamarr, would result in a trip to Maryland and a statewide award. The project began as a classroom assignment in Lynn Meiers’ English class at Spring View Middle School last year. Meiers spearheaded the county level of the History Day competition in March, which brought a group of Spring View students to the state competition. From there, Opfer and Starr were selected to represent California at the national competition held in Maryland over the summer. History Day is a national challenge asking students to research, present and tell the story of a person that impacted the past and that’s just what Opfer and Starr did. Their Web site on Lamarr included photos, videos, history, a paper and a lengthy bibliography listing the more than 40 sources used to gather the information for the project. “For any student, it provides them with such important skills,” Meiers said. She said the project helps students with note taking, writing, working with multiple sources and also forming personal contacts for the project. “It was a great way to learn MLA citing,” Starr said of the format used in citing sources, a style used through college as well as high school. Opfer said it also taught them time management, another preparation for high school and beyond. At the national level, Opfer and Starr were chosen from thousands of others as recipients of the outstanding state entry for California in the junior section. “It was a big deal,” Meiers said. At the competition, teams and individuals traded buttons in a History Day tradition. In the exchange of the buttons, students trade buttons with others they meet at the competition, which included students from all 50 states as well as Americans studying abroad, Meiers said. Opfer and Starr were in the running against more than 80 other Web site entries at the national competition. Opfer said less than 100 entries received metals and theirs was one of them. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” Starr said. Lauren Weber can be reached at laurenw@goldcountry media.com.