Clintonville sophomore in History Day contest
By Bert Lehman
Ashley McRann, a sophomore at Clintonville High School, has qualified for nationals in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest to be held in College Park, Maryland, June 12-16.
She is one of more than 3,000 people who have qualified from around the world.
The National History Day contest has students creating different types of presentations around a common theme. This year’s theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange.
McRann’s presentation revolved around the creation of a website about Space Observation and Galileo Galilei.
Using a National History Day website creator, McRann built the website. She also had to write a process paper which explained how she did her research.
“I’m really interested in astronomy,” McRann said. “I’ve always loved the stars and thought Galileo would be perfect because there’s been a lot of research done on him and he wrote all his findings down.”
She said it took her 2-3 days complete the website.
The first step of the contest was regionals, which took place March 12 in Minocqua.
“They took you into a conference room and they interviewed you like you were applying for a job,” McRann said. “They had you walk through your website and explain things. They asked various questions about your topic and what you thought was correct.”
She said the “interview” lasted 15-20 minutes.
“It was interesting,” she added, “I never applied for a job before for anything so I’ve never been technically interviewed and it was kind of fun to share all the research you did and have somebody appreciate what you were doing.”
At regionals, McRann finished in the top three in her category, which advanced her to state competition March 23 in Madison.
“There were a lot more people there,” she said.
McRann said the top two from each category and two alternates moved on to nationals.
“I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe I made it to nationals,” McRann said. “I put in so much work on my website and just to be able to compete at the state competition was amazing. To go on to nationals, it’s just something I’ve never done before. I’m literally making history.”
She added, “My parents were so happy. We had a vacation planned originally. We were going to go down to Arizona but we’re moving that.”
Entering the competition McRann said her goal was to qualify for the state competition.
“I didn’t even know if I would make it to state because you couldn’t look at anybody else’s website to compare. I didn’t know what I was going up against.”
On June 10, McRann said she and other students from Wisconsin will travel by bus to Maryland. At the competition, McRann said she will once again have to present her website to a panel of judges.
She said she is a little nervous because of the amount of people expected at nationals, but she is also excited.
The top three in each category will receive a cash prize, McRann said. First place is $1,000, second place is $500 and third place is $250 she said.
McRann said it wouldn’t have been possible to advance to the national competition without the help of the teachers at Clintonville High School. They informed her about the competition and helped her with the rules.
“I’d just like to say thank you to the school district for exposing me to the event and letting me compete in the competition,” she said.
McRann said she plans to enter the contest again next year.
No matter how she does at nationals, she said that the experience will help her in the future when she does have job interviews.
“I’ll know what to expect and I won’t be caught off-guard so it will be a lot easier to answer questions intelligently,” McRann said.