PLATTSMOUTH – This year’s National History Day Contest will once again feature students from Plattsmouth.

Peyton Blankman and Isabella Hajek-Jones, two eighth grade students from St. John the Baptist School, have qualified for that June event in Maryland after receiving second-place honors for their Junior Group Performance at Nebraska’s statewide National History Day Competition on April 6 at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.

Their performance, “A Triumph Against the Current: The Life of Susan LaFlesche Picotte,” was a dramatic portrayal of their topic’s significance in history.

The students researched the topic, scripted the 10-minute performance and then presented it live to judges. Their performance is one of only two entries in the Junior Group Performance Division to advance to the 2019 National History Day Contest, June 9-13 at the University of Maryland, according to Deb Walton, the school’s marketing director.

This will be the second consecutive year St. John the Baptist will be represented at the national competition, she said.

Also at the state event, Miles Poppleton and Jayger Haag, seventh grade students at the school, received a special award at the state contest for their second-place entry, “Andrew Poppleton: A Triumphant Voice for

Human Rights” in the Junior Group Division. Their project has already received attention and recognition from notable Nebraska dignitaries, according to Walton.

Following their first-place finish at the district competition, the students and their families were invited to the State Capitol to meet with Gov. Pete Ricketts, and other Nebraska senators and dignitaries, to share their historic project research. Their visit to the statehouse, as well as their National History Day project, were recently featured in an article by the Nebraska Commission of Indian Affairs, according to Walton.

The NEBRASKALand Foundation Award honors the best entries in both the Junior and Senior Divisions that deal with a person, place, event, institution or other development that contributed to the heritage of Nebraska.

“National History Day continues to be an amazing experience for students,” said Pam Reinsch, eighth grade teacher and the school’s organizer of National History Day. “The students spent many hours working on their projects and preparing their presentations. They should all be very proud of the work they have accomplished.”

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