I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
Home | Columns |
Photos | Books
| Biography | Links
Judging history connects with youth
By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................March 6, 2012
Wanting to keep up with what young people are doing in their
spare time these days, I once again volunteered to be a judge
at the 50th annual Northern Regional History Fair held Feb. 25
at the Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University.
This one attracted 413 students from 24 middle and high schools
from throughout northern Illinois, plus teachers, parents and
I ran into an old Genoa-Kingston High School schoolmate, Howard
Rubeck, and his wife, Doris Jean, who are grandparents of Clinton
Rosette Middle School sixth-grader Bryce Comer. A first-time
entrant, he had a display on the Tully
Hiawatha High School juniors Donald Giebel, at left,
and Eduardo Canchola stand with their winning history fair exhibit
at NIU. (Barry Schrader photo)
Monster, which is Illinois state fossil. His was just one
of 283 projects filling the ballroom, highlighting historical
vignettes throughout Illinois.
In talking with several students and teachers, I found out they
spend personal time outside of school hours preparing these exhibits.
It takes several weeks to do the research, find the source material
and build it into a format for judging. In addition to the display
boards, there were 10 video documentaries, 12 websites and four
stage performances created by young people who have shown an
interest in local and state historical topics.
Two juniors from Hiawatha High School Eduardo Canchola
and Donald Giebel chose Shoeless Joe as their subject.
Joe Jackson was a young, illiterate boy from South Carolina who
became famous for his baseball skill with the White Sox. He was
caught up in the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and banned from the
sport. He had a batting average of .356 and was listed in 1999
in the top-100 players of all time by Sporting News.
Giebel told me he and Canchola have a passion for baseball and
play on the Hiawatha team, which made this topic a natural for
them to pursue. They captured a superior rating and will take
their display to Springfield in May for statewide judging. Their
history teachers, Todd Johnson and Connie Worden, can be justifiably
proud because they had 34 students participating.
The sad news is only three schools from DeKalb County participated
this year. In addition to Hiawatha and Clinton Rosette, St. Mary
Catholic School in DeKalb was represented. Joe Rathke of Clinton
Rosette had a superior-rated exhibit featuring Albert Parsons.
In case you forgot why Parsons is famous, he championed the cause
for an eight-hour workday. He later was blamed for the Haymarket
Riot in Chicago and was hanged in 1887 with three other anarchists.
He couldnt be all bad: He was a newspaper editor and even
started his career like I did as a printers devil.
Kudos to Anne Petty Johnson and her staff at NIUs External
Programming Office for providing students with an outlet for
their creative talents. I wish I had the space to list all of
the area winners, but that can be found soon on the history fairs
Touching on another subject, the DeKalb
County Forest Preserve District continues to work on restoring
the 1835 Miller-Ellwood log cabin near the Russell Forest Preserve
between Kingston and Genoa. Superintendent Terry Hannan says
the effort needs some antique, wavy glass panes about 8-by-10
inches or larger to construct authentic windows for the pioneer
cabin. If you have any old glass such as this, give him a call
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115