Annie Thrash, a freshman at GPS, won the Margaret Lindsley Warden Prize for the Best Project in Women’s History at the Tennessee History Day competition in Nashville, the latest in a string of victories for her. As a part of their history classes, all GPS freshmen take part in the National History Day school-level competition; during December and January they work on producing a project which adheres to the annual theme, this year Conflict & Compromise in history, and present it to a panel of in-house judges. The winners then advance to the Southeast Tennessee regional competition.
“NHD has become such a vital part of freshman history at GPS,” says Dr. Ralph Covino, dean of the Junior Class and freshman honors world history teacher. “The NHD process and competition allow our girls the leeway and latitude to explore historical subjects they choose themselves and to use their talents to produce some awesome things—be they performances, documentaries, or the more traditional papers and poster presentations. Don’t get me wrong, I do so love it when they do well. But what I love more is that the competition also gives them the chance to practice being bold and doing so in an academic context.”
Ms. Thrash’s project, a one-woman performance about the Elizabethton Textile Mill factory strikes of 1929, won our school competition, took first place at regionals in March, and was awarded second place overall in the Senior Individual Performance category of the state competition as well as secured the Best Project in Women’s History prize. Ms. Thrash can take her monologue on the road this summer as she is eligible to compete in nationals at the University of Maryland in June as one of Tennessee’s two entries in the senior performance category.
“I chose my topic because I was really interested in local women's history,” Ms. Thrash says. “I was really excited to learn about how women shaped my local area, and winning just made me more excited to improve on and continue to show my project at nationals.”
Ms. Thrash has some big shoes to fill, as she follows in the footsteps of last year’s GPS NHD nationals’ competitor Jadyn Matthews ’20, who represented her freshman history group documentary project on the Women’s Dress Reform Movement last summer in Washington, D.C.
GPS freshmen Morgan Brown, Maggie Parsley, Astha Sinha, and AnnaKate Stipanov also took home medals at Tennessee History Day. Following their performance at the school level and first place finish in the Senior Group Documentary category at the regional competition, their documentary, “Science, Journalism, and Activism: The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906,” was awarded third place at the state level and are on-call as alternates should either the first or second place Senior Group Documentary finishers be unable to attend nationals.
“Year after year I get to watch our girls, freshmen at that, as they put their projects on the line and compete with upperclassmen at regionals and then later at state,” says Dr. Covino. “I am always amazed at how well they carry themselves, win or lose.”