Twenty Conway students recently competed at the National History Day competition, held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C.

Several students won awards at the national competition. Junior division students are comprised of grades 6-8, while senior division students are comprised of students in grades 9-12.

Mary Nail and Kennedy Reynolds finished fifth in the nation in the senior group performance category on the topic of "The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938: A Turning Point in the Industrial War against Child Labor."

Finishing eighth in the junior individual performance category on the topic of "The Siege of Vicksburg: A 47-Day Turning Point in the American Civil War," was Joe Coker.

Finishing eleventh in the senior individual documentary category on the topic of "The Key in Lincoln’s Pocket: Unlocking the Door to Union Victory During the Civil War," was Elisa DeTogni.

Finishing twelfth in the senior group performance category on the topic of "Uprooted and Downtrodden: The Pluck of the Irish (Immigration to America)," were Zoe Allison, Caroline Osborn and Selene Spatz.

Elisa DeTogni also won the national award for best overall national entry on "Civil War History by the Civil War Trust."

Zoe Allison, Caroline Osborn, and Selene Spatz won the national award for best overall national entry on "Immigration History to America."

Joe Coker won the outstanding Arkansas entry for the junior division.

Mary Nail and Kennedy Reynolds won the outstanding Arkansas entry for the senior division.

Other students attending the national competition, and the categories they represented, included Maggie Carroll, junior individual performance; Zelda Engler-Young, junior historical paper; Kate Lange, junior individual exhibit; Will LaRue, junior individual website; Jillian Tang, junior individual website; Cameron Tilley, junior individual exhibit; Andrea Beggs, Avery Glover, and Erin McCoy, junior group performance. James Crane and Andrew Rodriguez, junior group exhibit; Connor Lichtenwalter, senior individual website; Matt Sweere: senior historical paper;

Conway was the only city in Arkansas to have students reach the finals or win national special awards.

The trip was the fifth of its kind for Caroline Osborn; the third for students Elisa DeTogni, Selene Spatz, and Zoe Allison; and the second trip for Mary Nail, Kennedy Reynolds and Jillian Tang.

Teachers accompanying the students were Sherry Holder, Kevin DeStefano, Jake Stroman and William Richardson.

Richardson, an advanced placement U.S. history teacher, said that all of the students did well after working through months of competition to get to nationals.

"The junior division — the eighth-graders — for most of them, it was their first time to go, so they were very excited," Richardson said.

On non-competitive days, the students traveled by metro to Washington D.C. to explore historical sites.

Richardson said travel expenses were paid by state funding.

(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 501-505-1277 or by email at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net.)