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Jay Greeson

AGE OF JACKSON AWARD

› Senior Group Documentary — “The Cherokees: Trail to Tribal Rights”

Katherine Bell, Komal Patri, Mary Beth Propes and Astra Burke from GPS

JUNIOR GROUP DOCUMENTARY

› First place — “Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds: Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom”

Paige Frady, Jaylin Viviano and Chase Hagler from Lake Forest Middle School, Cleveland

SENIOR INDIVIDUAL DOCUMENTARY

› First place — “The East Tennessee Bridge Burners: Lincolnites Taking a Stand”

Grant Smith from McCallie

SENIOR GROUP DOCUMENTARY

› Second place — “American Women’s Dress Reform 1850-1920”

Sana Nisar, Katie Millican, Isabel Hester, Jadyn Mattews and Olivia Hoodenpyle from GPS

SENIOR INDIVIDUAL EXHIBIT

› Second place — “Still Standing: Rex Richey and the Fight Against Bootlegging in Tennessee”

Duke Richey from McCallie

SENIOR GROUP PERFORMANCE

› Second place — “Osceola: An American Freedom Fighter Makes a Stand”

Dawson Yates, Josh Martin and John Knox from McCallie

SENIOR GROUP EXHIBIT

› Third place — “Coal Operators and Evicted Miners in the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Coal Strike of 1912”

Will Klein and Emerson Wright from McCallie

SENIOR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE

› Third place — “Ralph McGill: Taking a Stand in the Segregated South”

Walt Buzzing from McCallie

SENIOR GROUP WEBSITE

› Third place — “Simón Bolívar; Liberating South American Countries”

Erin Maxwell, Ruchika Rathi, Ella Ensign, Elizabeth Rowe and Kathryn Ingle from GPS

INDIVIDUAL PAPER

› Third place — “Thy Will Be Done: Clergy, Napalm, and the War in Vietnam”

Joseph Richard from McCallie

On Saturday, several of McCallie School's finest students delivered big time.

Was it tennis? Wrestling? Track?

Nope.

The domination came at the Tennessee History Day state contest in Nashville, where the best presentations in nine categories by middle and high school students across Tennessee were judged and recognized.

And before you think an academic competition like this is focused only on the smarts, know the competitive juices were gushing.

"In general, I think all students, male and female, want to compete," said McCallie AP history teacher Duke Richey, who had nine students participate in six presentations that finished in the top three of their categories. "And when you introduce that to them, they jump at it. I think that's huge because in life, in what they are going to be doing in life, whether it's sales or studies, they are going to have to compete."

McCallie's six place- winners were the most of any high school in the competition and the most for McCallie in Richey's seven years of guiding his students to the event, which is sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society.

McCallie's wins were highlighted by Grant Smith's victory for the documentary movie, "The East Tennessee Bridge Burners: Lincolnites Taking a Stand." The category winners and runners-up get a chance to go to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National History Day competition in June.

The ideas came from the McCallie students, Richey said, but the teacher's experience in judging previous competitions like this helped shape the direction.

"If you are going to do a project on Christopher Columbus, you better be able to speak Italian and have access to some really old literature," Richey said. "You have to pick a topic not a lot of people know about, and something you are really passionate about."

Smith's documentary — centered in part, according to Richey, on some of the bridges that he passes on his daily commute from Benton, Tenn., that were destroyed by Union sympathizers during the Civil War — placed second at the regional competition.

But the McCallie junior recast the 10-minute film and added some expert voices, including Chickamauga Battlefield historian Jim Ogden, and punched his ticket to D.C.

So did Duke Richey, Richey's freshman son, who placed second in the individual exhibit competition for a look at his great-great-uncle Rex Richey's fight against bootlegging in the 1950s as the Hamilton County sheriff.

"It was an amazing experience," teacher Richey said before adding the strong finishes from GPS, which had three place-winners, including the team of Katherine Bell, Komal Patri, Mary Beth Propes and Astra Burke, who combined to win the first Age of Jackson Award for their documentary called "The Cherokees: Trail to Tribal Rights."

"It was amazing to see the maturity these kids showed."

And how they embraced — and excelled — amid the competition of some of the brightest in the state.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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