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History Day competition draws students to Oklahoma City

About 500 students took part in the State History Day competition this week in Oklahoma City, and the top finishers will move on to the national contest in Washington.
BY MATT PATTERSON Published: May 4, 2012

Muskogee High School student Logan Dean did not flinch while facing the three-judge panel Thursday at the State History Day Contest.

The contest drew about 500 participants from schools around the state. Students created exhibits, performed monologues and filmed documentaries for their projects on historical subjects.

Dean's exhibit inside the Oklahoma History Center highlighted the evolution of Doppler radar from its earliest beginnings to present day. There were radar images and even a mini-Doppler radar tower. The freshman began his research in September, interviewing a Tulsa television meteorologist as part of his efforts.

“I thought it was really cool how the technology has changed over the years,” Dean said. “And living in Tornado Alley, it is something pretty much everyone in Oklahoma is familiar with.”

Muskogee High School history teacher Diane Walker said the competition teaches valuable life lessons. She has been taking students to the competition for 14 years.

“The competition is a great way for students to develop a passion for the past and that's a good thing because as the old cliche goes, those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it,” she said.

The competition also can be inspiring. Burns Flat High School student Brittany Friedel did her exhibit on women's suffrage. She had limited knowledge of the movement before she started her project in August but found inspiration in Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“I found a book on her in our library and it sparked my interest,” Friedel said. “She was married and had two kids, but was still an important leader for women's suffrage.”

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