A Celebration of Student Historians


Saturday was an outstanding day for Lakeview 7th graders. Having spent 2+ months of class time, numerous evenings and mornings, and exchanged seemingly 3,000 Google Docs with my students, our “History Fair Team” departed for the Regional History Fair held at NIU. 29 projects (26 exhibits, 2 research papers, and 1 documentary) and 31 students attended the Fair. Of those 29 projects, 8 projects were awarded Excellent, and another 21 were rated as Superior, a distinction that advances them to the State History Expo in May. In our first year competing in the Regional History Fair, this is an outstanding accomplishment for the students.

As impressive as this was, equally impressive was the enthusiasm shown by students for a school projecImaget that earned them no extra credit or academic benefit. Aside from pursuing their own personal best, these student had nothing to gain. A ribbon, sure, but when students are too often accused of being grade-driven and only motivated by the extrinsic reward, this was a remarkable show of force for student determination. When students get to pursue an interest, and guided in that interest in a meaningful way, and challenged to be great, they work with a level of engagement we all desire. Go figure!

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I am immensely proud of all 31 students and their projects. They exhibited unbelievable loyalty, dedication, and persistence on this venture. Even though a few students are disappointed to not be advancing to State, no students earned a “good” distinction – all of our students rated as “Superior” or “Excellent.” This isn’t a competition, but an academic showcase. An Excellent rating is an accomplishment in and of itself. And perhaps the best example of our enthusiasm and fantastic school spirit was when, in the middle of announcing the long list of Lakeview awards, the announcer had to stop and tell Lakeview’s “cheering section” to hold their applause until after our victory march was over. Tremendous camaraderie and teamwork helped these students achieve some impressive results. This was a great afternoon for all of our parents and students!

Well, done, Spartans. Be proud!


Projects awarded an Excellent rating:

  • Julianna Zwart – Oak Lawn Tornado
  • Eve Dygdon – White City
  • Lucas Szyptek – Enrico Fermi
  • Vince Vena – Black Sox Scandal
  • Emily Brindac – Chicago is Sick (research paper)
  • Angela Veverka – Chicago Fire
  • Kaelyn Arlt – Civil Rights in Chicago
  • Taylor & Lindsay Morton – Reversal of the Chicago River

Projects awarded a Superior rating:

  • Sydney Antiporek – Cherry Mine Disaster
  • James David – Daniel Burnham & Navy Pier
  • Kaitlyn Maas – Brach’s Candy
  • Mia Pinto – Chicago Candy
  • Jake Burrows – Chicago Tribune
  • Teddy Surdyk – Haymarket Riot
  • Maggie Reynolds – Fair Frist
  • Ashley Sanchez – Iroquois Theatre Fire
  • Sophia Cionne & Hailey Rodden – Sweet Home Chicago
  • Alex Wynne – Haymarket Riot
  • Amy Wang – Jane Addams (research paper)
  • Sarina Bales – Tylenol Murders
  • Chantalle DuPont – World’s Fair
  • Adam Rosignal – Culinary History of Chicago
  • Tyler Spencer – The Show that Didn’t Go On (documentary)
  • Paul Gurnic – Midway Airport
  • Steven Diekervers – Enrico Fermi
  • Nick Raso – Manhattan Project
  • Samantha Knutsman – Chicago Stockyards
  • Molly Mandziaria – Chicago River Reversal
  • Alex Merrinette – Willis Tower

And a preview of what to expect in May: