McComb Legacies Blog


McComb Students Win Multiple Awards at State History Day Competition

February 23, 2013 by mykella in Featured, Projects


In only its second year entering the Mississippi National History Day academic competition, McComb School District students were the proud winners of awards in multiple categories. This is a wonderful affirmation for their hard work. Many of the students worked for more than six months to prepare.

web-DSC_0034Preparing the Entries

The students from McComb Legacies began their film entry last summer during a one week institute on the history of voting rights in McComb. They spent their summer days poring over primary documents, listening to oral history interviews, and visiting historic sites in the area. See photos and stories from the institute. They continued their learning into the fall, dedicating two afternoons a week of their own time after school to create a timeline of the history and turning points. (The 2013 theme for National History Day is Turning Points in History.)

They soon realized that the full story of the voting rights struggle in McComb would be difficult to reduce to a 10-minute film. They consulted with historians who had written the leading books on Mississippi’s Civil Rights Movement history to try to identify the focal point for their film. They decided to create additional entries including an exhibit and a web site.


The historian conversations provided vital mentorship on the focus, flow, and voice of the story. They received weekly support and coaching from the McComb Legacies coordinator, digital media teacher Falana McDaniel. To top it all off, they held a two-day student conference on voting rights with key veterans from the movement in Pike County. They also received guidance from Mississippi History Day volunteer co-coordinator Renee McClendon and had a great send off at a full school pep rally thanks to their high school principal Mr. Lampkin.

None of this could have been possible without the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in a grant to Teaching for Change.

You Can See It Too

Here is the film entry on voting rights history. It has been edited constantly over the past few months and will continue to be edited in advance of the National History Day competition in June.

What’s Next?

The students who placed in first and second place will have the opportunity to represent Mississippi at the National History Day competition to be held in College Park, Maryland (near Washington D.C.) June 9-13, 2013. They will continue to work on their projects between now and then based on feedback from the judges and their peers. Those projects are:

  • The Voting Rights Struggle — SNCC Meets McComb, Miss.” a group documentary by Dominque Taylor, Zaccheus McEwen, Raykesha Carter, and Shaderrica Morris
  • “Life of Isaiah Montgomery,” a play by Courtney Coney, Diamond Isaac, Jasmine Dampier, and Noah Martin
  • “SNCC Meets McComb,” a group website by Calvin Dixon, Ember Patterson, and Gabrielle Washington
  • “The Life of Vito Russo,” a film by Terrius Harris

Three Cheers

Here are photos from the competition and a list of the McComb award winners with local history projects.

MHD Awards

Local Mississippi History Award from Teaching for Change and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • “Life of Isiah Montgomery” by Courtney Coney, Diamond Isaac, Jasmine Danpier, Noah Martin (Performance)
  • “Voting Rights Struggle in McComb” by Dominque Taylor, Zaccheus McEwen, Raykesha Carter, Shaderrica Morris (Documentary Film)
  • “Robert Johnson” by Tyler McCalip, LeRoy Taylor, Hal Duplantiss, and Terry Beechem (Performance)
Archival Research Award
  • “Voter Registration” by Damion Jordan (Individual Exhibit)
Group Performance
  • 3rd Place: “Robert Johnson” by Tyler McCalip, LeRoy Taylor, Hal Duplantiss, and Terry Beechem
  • 2nd Place: “Life of Isiah Montgomery” by Courtney Coney, Diamond Isaac, Jasmine Danpier, Noah Martin
Group Website
  • 1st Place: “SNCC Meets McComb” by Calvin Dixon, Ember Patterson, Gabrielle Washington
Group Documentary Film
  • 1st Place: “Voting Rights Struggle in McComb” by Dominque Taylor, Zaccheus McEwen, Raykesha Carter, Shaderrica Morris

What is National History Day?

2013_NHDLogo_webNational History Day is a highly regarded educational enrichment program in which more than 600,000 students across the United States participate each year. Through the NHD program, students improve their research and reading skills, critical/creative thinking, oral/written communication and presentation abilities, as well as self-esteem and confidence.

In advance of the statewide competition, the McComb School District  showcased the entries for the community on January 18. Organized by high school history teacher Alan Wheat, the event provided an opportunity for students to practice presenting for an audience and it introduced the community to National History Day. See photos and a story about the local event.

Photos by Bill McClendon and Lisa Serrano.

Share this post