Brooke students earn medals at fair

WELLSBURG – Several Brooke High School students returned home with medals following a statewide competition Friday that involved researching social studies-related topics that interested them.

The students were among hundreds who competed in the West Virginia Social Studies Fair and National History Day competition held at the Charleston Civic Center.

Competing as individuals or teams, they were:

Shelby Wade, who placed first in the economics division for individual competitors for her presentation, “Money Can Grow on Trees,” which considered the economic impact of legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Cassidy Bland, Ryan Mezan, Jackson Carey, Seth Miller and Justin Taflan placed first in the economics group division for a presentation titled, “The National Debt: A Solvable Problem.”

Jackson Boyce, who placed first in the political science category for his presentation, “Natural Gas Drilling: Taming the Flame.”

Brice Hickey, who placed second in world history for a presentation on the Battle of the Bulge.

Kylie Greathouse, who received honorable mention in state and local studies for her presentation on Early Glass in Brooke County.

The students advanced to the state competition after winning first place in their respective categories and divisions at a regional competition held March 23 in Paden City.

Greg Rothwell, social studies chairman at the school and their advisor, said the students could choose subjects also in the areas of U.S. history, anthropology, geography, psychology, sociology and international affairs. The topics were their choice, though he sometimes suggested they narrow their field of study if it was too broad.

Each individual or team was required to submit a short report stating their findings, supporting evidence and sources. Each individual competitor was required to deliver a 5-minute verbal presentation, while team presentations were to be 10 minutes.

Each team member was required to speak during their presentations as well as participating in the research.

Boyce said his presentation on natural gas drilling was inspired by a talk given at the school by a representative of Chesapeake Energy. He said he became interested in what impact environmental regulation has on the industry and its impact, good or bad, on the environment and economy.

Wade researched the economic impact of legalizing recreational marijuana use. She stressed she doesn’t condone marijuana use but became interested in the subject after reading an article in Time magazine about the economic impact of its legalization, with restrictions, in Colorado.

Mezan said his team’s decision to consider solutions to the national debt was a timely one, as there was much news about Congress and the Fiscal Cliff in January.

Carey said Mary Kohelis, their economics teacher from last year, was very helpful as they pursued their project.

Teammate Miller said each member developed a proposal but ultimately the team decided on one that included eliminating the North American Free Trade Agreement, raising tariffs, decreasing dependence on foreign oil and making cuts to social programs.

Hickey said he always has been interested in World War II and chose the Battle of the Bulge for his subject because his girlfriend’s great-grandfather, Duane Griffin, served in the battle.

Griffin, who was awarded a Purple Heart, talked about his experiences as well as loaned two books on the battle and an Army cap he used in the presentation.

Greathouse said while assisting her grandmother, Ruby Greathouse, the unofficial curator of the Brooke County Museum and Cultural Center, she learned about the many glass manufacturers that once existed in the county.

“It was amazing to see the amount of glass that was made in Brooke county and the talent that everyday people working in the glass factories had,” she said.

Rothwell said he’s very pleased with the students’ success. He noted this was the second year in which Brooke High School students competed in the competition.

Last year Boyce, Miller and Mezan were awarded first place at the state level, while Carey received honorable mention.

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