GNMS student heads to national competition
Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2016
LaGRANGE — Libby Criswell, a Gardner Newman Middle School student, is heading to Washington, D.C., this coming week to present her historical research project in the National History Day competition.
Criswell was honored at the May meeting of the Troup County Board of Education for the honor.
“History Day competitions pull the students out of the textbooks to learn about history firsthand,” said board member Debbie Burdette during the meeting, also congratulating Criswell for the distinction.
Competitions occur at regional, state and national levels. In the region competition, Criswell placed first in the individual performance category. She went on to place second in the state competition, securing her spot in the national contest.
Held Sunday to Thursday at the University of Maryland in College Park, the annual Kenneth Behring National Contest serves as the national finals.
Criswell also was a first place winner for the local chapter of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest earlier this year on the topic “How my Best Brings Out the Best in Others.” She went on to compete in the Optimist Club Zone, Area and GATEway competitions.
Additionally, Criswell won first place in the Optimist International Essay Contest. She advanced to zone and competed in the Zone and GATEway competitions. She won all competitions and received scholarships.
She also advanced to the Southeastern Region competition for the Daughters of the American Revolution Essay Contest.
In the National History Day competition, Criswell is among about 60 Georgia public-, private- and home-schooled students from Atlanta, Chamblee, Columbus, Cumming, Doraville, Eatonton, Lilburn, Locust Grove, Loganville, Marietta, McDonough, Sharpsburg, St. Simons, Thomasville, Thomson and Woodstock.
Five hundred and twenty one middle and high school students — a record number, according to officials — along with their teachers and families came out for the state National History Day contest at Mercer University.
“We are grateful to our partners for providing opportunities for teachers and students to get involved with this program,” said Laura McCarty, co-state coordinator for the National History Day competition. “A growing number of teachers, schools and school systems have chosen to do National History Day. The number of participants statewide has nearly doubled over the past three years.”
Students presented papers, websites, documentaries and performances focusing on the theme “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History” to a team of 110 volunteer judges — also a record number. Many categories had so many entries that a second round of judging was required.
“Using technology provided by LaGrange College, we conducted 22 web based-sessions with members of the Georgia delegation,” Co-state coordinator Kevin Shirley added. “Our qualifiers did excellent work throughout the year, but what really impressed me was their desire to continue working on their projects. They are a highly motivated, passionate group of students of whom Georgia can be proud.”