On May 11 and 12, six students from St. Mary’s Assumption School traveled to Millersville University, Millersville, PA to represent their school at the state level of the National History Day Competition. Each participant at History Day is required to incorporate that year’s theme, as chosen by national coordinators, into his research and topic of choice. “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences” was this year’s theme. Coached by moderators Mrs. Bonnie Blaskiewicz, Mrs. Doris Brady, Miss Mary Kate Conlon, Mrs., Maureen Conlon, and Mrs. Anne Powers, the students selected the performance category to present their historical research.
The team of Thomas Lewis, Laura Mariotti, Lauren Senese, and Kaya Swanek presented a group play entitled “Debate and Diplomacy: A Legal Success: The Mine Strike of 1902” in which their characters represented all the players in the debate between management and labor in the anthracite coal fields concerning better working conditions, fair labor practices and pays, and the UMWA. This was the first time in history that the federal government had intervened in a labor dispute.
Bria Moore enacted an individual play titled “Debating a Woman’s Place in the World” in which she presented the historical debate as to whether a woman, particularly a married woman, should stay at home or enter the workforce. Bria’s research focused on the World War II era, and was based on her grandmother’s personal experiences at that time.
Michael Conlon delivered an individual performance entitled “Diplomacy in the Trenches: The Christmas Truce of 1914” in which he portrayed an aging British soldier reminiscing about the first Christmas Eve of World War I when British and German soldiers, diplomatically, declared an unofficial truce and met in “no man’s land”, the area between the trenches, to commemorate the holy holiday of Christmas.
All the students performed exceptionally well during the first round of competition vying for a chance to make run offs or the tip six in the state. The top six then have chance of placing in the top two to move on to Nationals at the University of Maryland in June. Michael Conlon made this final round of competition, and he placed fourth in the state in the Individual Performance Category.
Pictured left to right are Bria Moore, Laura Mariotti, Tommy Lewis, Michael Conlon, Kaya Swanek and Lauren Senese.