History competition at Minot State

Glenburn eighth-grader Latasha Dean chose to do her North Dakota Northwest Region History Day project on Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse because she likes to watch the Disney Channel after school and because her cousin likes Mickey.

Latasha, one of the students from area schools who participated in the history competition held at Minot State University on Monday, said she learned some things about Mickey’s cultural transformation that surprised her. For instance, Mickey didn’t always look like Mickey. He once looked more like a real rodent than he does now. His original name was Mortimer, which was changed because Disney’s wife didn’t like the name and suggested Mickey instead.

Latasha’s classmate, Glenburn eighth-grader Rebecca Haller, created an individual website on the history of Thomas Alva Edison and the light bulb.

Edison’s original invention doesn’t look much like the compact fluorescent light bulbs that are being used now, said Rebecca, though she added that her family still uses the original incandescent light bulb. Rebecca also learned about Edison’s other inventions, like the moving picture.

Lewis and Clark-Makoti teacher Joan Petrick said this is the first year her students have participated in the History Day competition. She normally has her juniors and seniors write a term paper. This year she had them use the material from their term papers to create entries for the History Day competition. Her students liked getting two grades for the same assignment, she said.

Petrick said this presents the information in a different way. Not everyone reads term papers but her students were able to convey the information in other formats.

Jacob Edwards, a junior at Makoti, said he created an individual exhibit on the beginnings of the Bakken oil boom. His classmate, Joseph Peterson, also a junior at Makoti, did his individual exhibit on the attack on Pearl Harbor.

History Day projects include papers, web sites, individual papers, individual exhibits and documentaries. This year’s theme was “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.”

Winners will go on to compete at the state History Day competition.