Post middle school social studies fair packs them in
August 27, 2008 · Updated 3:41 PM
ARLINGTON The 29th Annual Post Middle School Social Studies Fair drew a packed house June 2, and proud parents and school staff turned out to inspect the reports and displays that the eighth-grade students have been working on since the end of January.
The gymnasium was filled with more than 200 projects, covering subjects ranging from personal family history to the histories of the city of Arlington and the state of Washington, as well as American history before 1900.
Griffin Ginnis made a personal connection to world history through his family. Ginnis grandfather, Burt Estes, served in the Korean War in 1952 but he hadnt spoken with his grandson about the experience until it became the subject of a school project.
I didnt know that much about what he did, said Ginnis, who was inspired by a visit to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was surprised by the some of training he did and how close he came to things like landmines.
There were some scary situations, especially on Pork Chop Hill, said Estes, who brought photos of his 21 months in the service. The fighting was intense. In front of the tents, where they flew the wounded out, they lined up our dead but they left the North Koreans lying where they were until it was over. It was a matter of priorities. As a 19-year-old, I was sleeping in a tent that had been shredded by shrapnel.
At the same time, Estes wistfully recalled crossing the demilitarized zone to meet with North Koreans, during the truce that preceded the armistice signing, and share wine and cigarettes with them.
They put out a sign that said, May you soon be reunited with your loved ones, Estes said. It was dumb of us to go across the minefield to get there and when we came back a lot of guys had their cameras confiscated. Our superiors shouted at us, You could have started the war all over again! I was glad to be back home.
The visual aid for Logan Shulls project came courtesy of Silver State Helicopters at the Arlington Airport, who sent instructor pilot Dustin Zahller to the school in a Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter.
I did a Young Eagles flight at the airport when I was 11 years old, Shull said. I rode in a single-engine Cessna. It was my first time in a plane. I love flying, so I really wanted to go outside the box for this.
Although Shull was willing to pay for fuel, Silver State decided to donate the cost of the helicopter flight from the airport to the school, just as the school granted permission for the helicopter to land in its field.
Its a little slower than a Cessna, but not as rough, said Shull of his helicopter ride. You feel the turns a lot more. Flying is a thrill. Everyone should try it. Id like to get my pilots license this summer.
He was pretty excited when he came in, said Zahller, who had never landed in the schools field before. Its always neat to see kids reactions. Hopefully, this can open their minds to aviation beyond fixed wings.
MacKenzie Bergam learned about her family and the state of Washington through her project on ranching. Bergams aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather all have ranches in Eastern Washington, but she hadnt known ranching could be so widespread or profitable.
Even a single cow can sell for a lot more than I thought, said Bergam, who served cups of chili to fair attendees. In Eastern Washington, ranching is almost all there is. I found out about breeding lines for horses and how ranching provides for communities.
Bergam plans on becoming a veterinarian and believes that her relatives ranches can serve as examples for her to follow, since she hopes to open her own ranch to work with animals.
Christine Kulpers grandfather John died when she was six years old, but she didnt let that stop her from getting to know him. Through talks with her father and grandfather, Kulper shed some light on her own heritage.
He was a fisherman, he was in the Army and he worked as a steward for Delta Airlines, said Kulper of her grandfather, an Alaskan-born Tlingit Indian, whose mother died when he was two and his father died when he was 13. That was when he inherited his first fishing boat.
Kulper was overwhelmed by how much she learned about her grandfather, but some facts stood out in her mind, such as his familys rediscovery of the fishing boat he lost years before.
Nobody knew where it went until it was found inland, Kulper said, pointing to a photo of the boat half-buried in grassy ground. A tsunami had washed it ashore. It was fun to find out about my family history.
Melissa Skyles, an eighth-grade social studies teacher who assisted with the fair, praised the students for sticking with their projects for eight weeks, noting that the reports and displays fulfill a number of essential academic and grade-level requirements such as demonstrating the ability to research and write reports with attributions and bibliographies.
When they study these subjects on their own, it connects them to what were trying to teach, Skyles said. Especially when you have those cross-generational conversations, they get a sense of what daily life was like.