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Delving into the past reaped awards in the present for five DODDS students at last week’s National History Day competition at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.

Colin Dermody, Kara Elder and Amanda Woodburn from Bitburg High School in Germany won the George C. Marshall Award for 20th Century History. The trio received the award for a group performance entry titled “The White Rose: Communicating the Truth in Nazi Germany.”

Two other Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe students won individual awards.

The junior individual paper of Ramstein Middle School’s Daniel Otto, titled “The Tuskegee Airmen: Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” was named an outstanding state entry.

And Bitburg High’s Elizabeth Britt won outstanding state entry for her senior individual documentary, “Communicating a Culture: Jane Austen and Her Novels.”

The theme for the national contest was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.” Students had to choose a topic related to the theme, conduct research during the school year and create projects to enter into a series of contests. The national competition involved more than 2,000 students.

“It opens a window on a bigger world for them,” said David Ruderman, a DODDS-Europe spokesman. “It’s a great adjunct to classroom education, and we’re very proud of our kids.”

The DODDS-Europe contest took place at the end of March, and winning students learned just before spring break that they could attend the national contest.

The Marshall Award winners selected their topic because they wanted one dealing with the history of their host nation, according to an e-mail from Tami Elder, the Bitburg High history teacher who accompanied the students to the competition. Her daughter was in the award-winning group.

White Rose was an informal organization of University of Munich students and a professor who wrote, published and distributed six anti-Nazi leaflets in 1942 and 1943. By the time the members were caught and executed in February 1943, they had distributed several thousand leaflets by mailing them to various cities, obtaining names from directories at the university.

“With the contest’s emphasis on primary historical sources, students ‘do’ history rather than reading about it, and they learn to think like historians,” Elder said inn her e-mail.

Contest winners from Europe

Colin Dermody, Kara Elder and Amanda Woodburn from Bitburg High School in Germany won the George C. Marshall Award for 20th Century History for a group performance entry titled “The White Rose: Communicating the Truth in Nazi Germany.”

The junior individual paper of Ramstein Middle School’s Daniel Otto, titled “The Tuskegee Airmen: Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” was named an outstanding state entry.

Bitburg High’s Elizabeth Britt won outstanding state entry for her senior individual documentary, “Communicating a Culture: Jane Austen and Her Novels.”


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