PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Erika Cheever and her father, Paul, read the citation she received for participating in the National History Day Contest.
BY BRIDGET TURCOTTE
REVERE — Erika Cheever was surprised by everything she learned about Annie Oakley.
The eighth-grader researched the famous American sharpshooter for a national history competition. Cheever said her team wanted to learn about Oakley because she was a woman who didn’t fit in.
“Women were trained to be domestic housewives and to cook and clean,” Cheever said. “Annie Oakley didn’t accept that.”
Cheever was among a dozen students from the Susan B. Anthony Middle School recognized with a citation Monday at City Hall by Mayor Brian Arrigo and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) for their hard work in qualifying for the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest.
The contest was held last month at the University of Maryland, College Park. More than 3,000 students competed after they qualified at the state and regional level. Students presented U.S. history research projects in a variety of formats.
More than 35 Revere students attended the regional round and a dozen went on to compete in the final competition, said Tina Petty, history teacher.
“They’ve been working on this since October,” she said. “It’s pretty nice for them to be recognized.”
Jackeline Lemus, Chindara Detillio-Eam, Nicole Bagley and Sydney Ciano created a documentary, “Martha Graham: The Mother of Modern Dance.” The group won first place at the state competition in the documentary category.
Cheever, Angelice Leng and Angel Ahmed researched Annie Oakley and created a poster board and presentation. It’s centered on the theme of libel and feminism.
“The fact that she was so small and capable of all these things is amazing,” said Leng.
Marisol Palencia, Eve Lescovitz, Astrid Umanzor, Kathy Umanzor and Brenda Bettero explored the roles of First Ladies. The group won the junior division White House History Award.
The project focused on what a conversation would be like between five first ladies who lived during different times. The girls dressed in costume, from Dolly Madison to Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy, and performed a skit.
The projects were ranked by judges on historical quality, theme and clarity of presentation.
“It was a great experience to see how much effort kids put into their projects and to meet people from all over the world,” Cheever said. “Some of the other kids do summer programs to work on their projects and we only worked for three months on it and made it that far.”
Leng said she learned group skills and feels more prepared to complete high school.
Students at the middle school reached the national competition once before in 2013, Petty said. In addition to working on their projects, the girls had to raise money to travel to Washington, D.C. The cost for each girl to attend the trip was about $700.
“Not only were you able to represent Revere at an elite level, you also got the chance to experience D.C.,” said Arrigo, who added that he was given the opportunity to know and love the city through an internship which he feels helped him arrive at his career.
Clark said that by studying history, the girls are helping to build a brighter future. She added that learning about history is going to aid in finding solutions to many of the country’s challenges.
“We are bursting with pride,” she said.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.