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Students take part in social studies expo

IRONTON — John F. Kennedy, the French Revolution, and the history of softball. These were just a few of the topics Ironton High School students researched for their first social studies expo.

About 100 of the school’s advanced placement students participated in the fair Tuesday.

“This is the first time we’ve tried this,” said Tim Thomas, one of four social studies teachers who organized the event.

The teachers wanted to focus on social studies because standardized testing has left it out. “We feel that in this shrinking world, social studies is just as important as anything in understanding the world.”

Within a few guidelines the students could focus on any historical event that they wanted.

“We wanted them to delve into something they enjoy,” Thomas said.

For Jordan McMaster, that something was the guillotine. The ninth grader built a model of the machine and researched its connection with the French Revolution.

“I thought it was interesting how a machine could play an important part in a revolution,” he said. The machine was used to execute the aristocracy but it also scared people into behaving. “So many people were put on the guillotine.”

Chris Johnson studied the Battle of Blair Mountain, which took place in Mingo County, W.Va . the largest armed rebellion in the United States since the Civil War.

“I picked this topic because it is local and you don’t really hear about local things much,” the ninth grader said. “I thought it would be an interesting topic.”

Student Josh Glover studied Malcom X and the civil rights movement.

“It’s amazing how life has changed from then until now,” Glover said.

Students were judged according to five different categories: world conflict, comprehensive history, sports history, counterfactuals and issues in society.

Teachers and community members helped with the judging.

The teachers hope to have the fair again next time, when they can open it up to all of the students, Mary Frances Near, a social studies teacher, said.

“Anything to generate enthusiasm about history is great in my book,” Near said.

The winners of the social studies expo are:

World Conflict:

First Place: Jordan McMaster – Guillotine during the French Revolution

Second Place: Shannon Walker – Anne Frank’s Diary

Third Place: Elle Johnson – Hitler’s Appeal

Comprehensive History:

First Place: Andrea Kratzenberg – Hanging Rock Iron Region Furnaces

Second Place: Katie Cunningham – History of Marching Bands

Third Place: Ryan Morgan – Those Who Serve: A History of the Samurai

Sports History:

First Place: Andrew Hicks – Progression of Tennis throughout the years

Second Place: Mason Weisgarber – History of Golf

Third Place: Jonathon Williams – The Steriod Era in Major League Baseball

Counterfactuals:

First Place: Kelly Paholsky – What if President Kennedy were not assassinated?

Second Place: Abbie Crowe – What if Adolf Hitler never came to power?

Third Place: Johnna Seward – Battle of Antietam

Issues in Society:

First Place: Morgan Weisgarber – Nuclear Power

Second Place: Bethany Bibb – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Comparison and Contrast

Third Place: Alexandra Bazell – Teen Age Suicide