Students lauded for histories of Hyde Park

Herald Intern

The Hyde Park Historical Society will host its annual History Fair Program June 22 at the Lutheran School of Theology, 5500 E. 55th St., honoring students’ excellence for their historical projects.

The honored students were winners at the Chicago Metro History Fair and presented projects that are about Hyde Park Township, which runs from Cermak Road south to the city limits.

The projects will be presented and a panel will provide commentary on the projects. The panel includes historian Timuel Black; Mary Ann Johnson, the executive director at the Chicago Area Women’s History Council, and Frank Valadez, the executive director at the Chicago History Education Center.

The Chicago Metro History Fair encourages students interested in history to create a project about an aspect of Chicago history focusing on the theme for that particular year. The theme for this year was “Turning Points in History.” The students could produce a research paper, a website, a documentary, a performance or an exhibit.

Kathy Huff, HPHS board member and coordinator for the History Fair program, said that the students are awarded for their projects focused on Hyde Park at the annual fair that she has been in charge of for more than five years.

The projects that will be presented at the History Fair include Kerry Kilcoyne, Megan O’Kane and Caitlin Degan’s documentary “The Columbian Exposition 1893: The Women’s Building.” The students’ documentary was a winner at the Chicago Metro History Fair in the Suburban Regional Competition for documentaries. The students attend Nazareth Academy, a private Catholic school in LaGrange Park.

Margarete Wallner will present her paper, “Janet Rowley: the World’s Spokeswoman for Cancer Genetics.” She attends Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. She won at the Chicago Metro History Fair in the senior division for her research paper.

Eva Lewis is a junior division winner for her work on her documentary, “South Shore Country Club: The proposed Demolition, A Turning Point That Sparked the Voice of the People.” Her film was chosen to go to the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland. She is an 8th grade student at Kenwood Academy.

Lewis explains that the investigation into the proposed demolition of the South Shore Country Club and citizens’ rally to keep it open inspired her.

“It made me see it’s possible for a group of people with positive intentions to fight against the government for something for the better,” Lewis said.

Hope Rogers, a 7th grade student at Kenwood Academy and a finalist in the junior division at the National History Day competition for her individual paper, “Return of Tradition: Impacts of the Folk Revival,” will not be able to attend the event because she is attending band camp.

Huff said she enjoys the event and seeing the students work.

“To do what these young ladies did, to go in depth on a subject that hasn’t been covered before, that’s the stuff of scholarship,” Huff said.

The program lasts from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lutheran School of Theology. The location was chosen because the building is at the center of town, easy parking is available and it has the technology the fair needs, Huff said.