Rebecca Derby and Rachel Emond of Sevier County High School, Sevierville, won a gold medal for their Senior Group Exhibit, Ignition of a Revolution: The Fire That Changed America. Their topic selection, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, was an ideal choice for the 2012 theme, Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.
In the version of their exhibit that they submitted for the East Tennessee Regional History Day content, the students made a strong visual impact. Their exhibit board was an unusual shape, which is permitted by the official NHD Rule Book. Their title, Ignition of a Revolution, was clearly visible. The sub-title, The Fire That Changed America, is not pictured in this photograph, but was present. Their headings included: Hard Knock Life, The Gibson Girl, Uprising, Inferno, Aftermath, Trial, History Lane (a timeline), and Reform.
The feedback the judges provided Rebecca and Rachel at both the regional and state contests instructed them to narrow their focus and connect the project to the theme. For the national contest, Rebecca and Rachel made significant revisions.
They kept the structure of the original board intact. They changed their headings to: Hard Knock Life, Uprising, Inferno, Reaction, Trial, and Reform.
Notice that they removed the sections on The Gibson Girl and History Lane (the timeline). They changed the heading Aftermath to Reaction (one of the theme words). These are significant editorial choices that strengthened their thesis and refined their research.
Read an interview with Rebecca and Rachel in which they discuss the inspiration for their topic, their project development, their research methodology, the revision process, and Rebecca’s experience at National History Day.