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Seventh and eighth grade students at Thomas Edison Charter School set up elaborate displays and donned colorful costumes on Thursday for this year’s History Fair.

Students began working on their history projects in August and chose to create an exhibit, performance, documentary, website or research paper on their chosen historical topic.

JoLyne Merchant, a history teacher at Thomas Edison’s south campus, said she encourages her students to research, analyze and present on a topic that they are passionate about for their projects.

“I think they become an expert in an area, and they feel knowledgeable about something, and it gives them power,” Merchant said. “ Because then they know: I can learn things, I can research, I can answer intelligently about the things I’ve been able to do the work and find out the information for.”

Brayden Budge came up with the idea for his exhibit, entitled “The Developments of Anesthesia: A Journey through the Medical World,” in the summertime, before the project was even assigned.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical world and all things that have to do with doctors,” Budge said. “I was thinking of medical milestones that I could possibly do for my project, and I kind of stumbled across this one.”

Kaycee Hancock spent months writing the script and gathering props and costumes for her 10-minute monologue, entitled “Lady of the Lamp: Lighting the Way for Women and Modern Healthcare.”

“I chose Florence Nightingale because I want to be a nurse when I get older,” Hancock said. “And she took care of so many people and never complained.”

Julia Howe came up with her exhibit topic, “Sophia Jex-Blake’s Unstoppable Efforts to Open Doors for Women in Medicine,” after using one of Jex-Blake’s quotes in her project last year.

“We looked into her because we’d never heard of her before, and when we kept looking in she just kept getting more interesting,” Howe said.

Howe created a 4-foot tall wooden display board detailing Jex-Blake’s life and her contribution to the medical world. According to Howe, the display board alone took two weeks to create.

“In history class you get to learn about it but you don’t get to go so in depth with it,” Howe said. “And I think it’s fun to just find one topic that you’re really interested about and get to know more and more about it.”

The History Fair winners who will move on to represent Thomas Edison Charter School at the Cache/Box Elder Regional History Fair were, in no particular order: Paula Barlow, Isabella Linares, Jace Boyd, Michael Hancock, Brayden Budge, Ben Paulsen, Madison Coombs, Austin Cureton, Kaycee Hancock, Abbi Tyers, Issi Tyers, Nicholas Scott, Kaleb Lopez, Julia Howe, and Timothy Mikesell.

The Cache/Box Elder Regional History Fair will be on March 20, 2020, at Utah State University, and students who qualify there will move on to the state level, with the opportunity to move on to compete at the national level.

“Ever since we started doing this, which has been I think about 15 years, we’ve sent somebody to the national competition every year,” Merchant said. “We’ve had actually multiple kids be in the top 10 regularly in the national competition.”

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