Davis students share lessons on American, local history

Mar 16 2012 - 10:23pm

Images

Victoria Vigil explains her project on the Panama Canal to Judy Olson during the Davis School District History Fair on Thursday at the Kendell Building in Farmington. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Kaitlyn Morgan (center) talks with Austin Jacks about his project on Iwo Jima during the Davis School District History Fair on Thursday at the Kendell Building in Farmington. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Abigail Simmons (left) and Emma Porter perform a piece on the life of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis during the Davis School District History Fair on Thursday at the Kendell Building in Farmington. Dicker-Brandeis and her husband were deported to Terezín, a concentration camp, during World War II. During her time at Terezín, she gave art lessons and lectures. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Victoria Vigil explains her project on the Panama Canal to Judy Olson during the Davis School District History Fair on Thursday at the Kendell Building in Farmington. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Kaitlyn Morgan (center) talks with Austin Jacks about his project on Iwo Jima during the Davis School District History Fair on Thursday at the Kendell Building in Farmington. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Abigail Simmons (left) and Emma Porter perform a piece on the life of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis during the Davis School District History Fair on Thursday at the Kendell Building in Farmington. Dicker-Brandeis and her husband were deported to Terezín, a concentration camp, during World War II. During her time at Terezín, she gave art lessons and lectures. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

FARMINGTON -- The second floor of the Kendell Building in the Davis School District was all abuzz Thursday as students took part in the annual history fair.

Students shared what they had learned about national and local history. Subjects this year ranged from a Davis County business to the Sept. 11 attacks and from transportation to factory fires.

Endeavour Elementary fourth-grade student Isaiah Garcia researched the first transcontinental railroad.

"I thought it was interesting that it was kind of dangerous," he said.

He talked about the Indian wars to the east and drilling through the Sierra Nevada mountains during blizzards in the West.

Kaitlyn Jenkins learned that her great-grandfather, Roland Jenson, was a bus driver for movie stars during the Great Depression when movies were made in Moab.

"I really love Moab, but I don't go there very often, and I love movies," Kaitlyn said.

"I didn't know they made movies there. Instead of building a Western set in Hollywood, they came to Moab. That brought money and jobs to Utah."

Some students worked alone on their projects, while others worked with partners or in small groups.

Three Syracuse Elementary sixth-grade students decided they wanted to learn the history about a local business, so they focused on the R.C. Willey furniture store.

"It is in our hometown, so we wanted to learn more about it," said Kaylie Criddle, who did the report with Aspen Andersen and Terah Chang.

"Almost everybody we know has been to R.C. Willey and either bought something or had a free lunch there," Kaylie said.

Aspen said the store began in the back of a red pickup truck.

Terah said that Rufus Call Willey also hooked electricity to homes when he delivered appliances.

Willey died in 1953, and his son-in-law, Bill Child, took over the business. Now there are 13 R.C. Willey stores, Terah said.

Legacy Junior High eighth-grader Noelle Streadbeck researched mental illness, titling her display "Lunatics to Lobotomies to Love."

Noelle said it was hard to learn how people were once treated.

"They went from cement walls to flowers and pictures and soft beds because we care about people," she said.

"We can't expect to be a good society if we don't treat people well. I thought this would be a perfect category. It was hard but fascinating at the same time."

Cooper Davis, a student at Endeavour Elementary, did his project on the World War II internment camp called Topaz.

"I wanted to know how the Japanese felt in the internment camp and how they reacted," he said.

Cooper said the people made life better by making things. They whittled and created dolls and decorations from shells they found. They also had school sports and did a lot of writing.

About nine students were from East Layton Elementary.

"We have high participation in our school," said teacher Shauna Christensen, adding that the school has a Discovery Fair where all of the students learn about the science fair and the history fair.

"I think they like the opportunity to look at a subject in depth and really become experts on that subject," Christensen said.

Sixth-grade teacher Candy Peters said, "One of the great things this year is there are a lot more junior high students in it."

Junior high students have the opportunity to be in honors programs, so they participate in the fair, she said.

Davis began holding a district history fair three years ago, said Jon Hyatt, director of American history for the district.

"National History Day has been around for a long time. Some teachers have had a school history fair for about 10 years. The school district organized it three years ago," he said.

Now students have the opportunity to go to the regional history fair at Weber State University and may go on to the state and national levels, Hyatt said.

"Utah hasn't been doing history fairs like other states," he said.

"This is a chance for the students to show off what they have learned and get them excited about social studies and history."

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