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IHS students do well in American history contest

Five Ironton High School students even surprised themselves with how well they did in Ohio University's 2002 American History Contest that they all agreed was very challenging.

Ironton students received five of the top six scores from Lawrence County. J.T. Holt, senior, placed first; Mark Crawford, Symmes Valley, won second place; Hillary Porter, junior; A.J. McKnight, senior; Meghan O'Brien, junior and Andy Vulhop, senior, rounded out the top six.

Because Holt had the highest score in the county on the multiple choice test, he is eligible to visit Athens later this year to compete for a scholarship in the second round of the competition, which is an essay contest.

Junior Hillary Porter said the results were satisfying because she did not think she scored that well but does realize the value of learning about the past.

"I think history is important because we do not want to repeat our mistakes," Porter said. "Knowing history really pays off."

Principal Dean Nance will reward the five students and Murray Greenstein, the history teacher they have all taken, with lunch at the Texas Roadhouse in Ashland today.

"This makes me feel very proud of our students and staff," Nance said. "It is a direct reflection of the hard work students at Ironton put into their studies."

Nance said that hopefully this can dispel the misperception of surrounding schools and communities that Ironton is just a "sports academy" and people will realize that academics is just as important to the the school.

"As a principal, it makes me feel good to see strides made in academics and to just know we are one of the best schools in the county," he said.

Senior class President J.T. Holt said history is his favorite subject.

"I think it is really interesting," Holt said. "You do best at what you enjoy."

Junior class President Meghan O'Brien said that the school deserves a lot of credit as well. "We have really good teachers that make this possible."

Greenstein says the test results show that these students understand the importance of history and is pleased to see his students receive the high scores.

"It is very rewarding and makes up for some of the times when students do not do so well," he said. "These are all hardworking kids that I anticipate will go to college and make this community proud."

In its 56th year, more than 9,000 students from across the state participated in the contest, said Marvin Fletcher, OU history professor and director of the competition for 30 years.

Fletcher said the test is very difficult and the average score was 26 out of 80 possible points. The five Ironton students' scores ranged from 43 to 37.