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Students advance in history competition
Knoxville Catholic student has new goal


A Knoxville Catholic High School student’s goal shifted as she prepared for the National History Day competition.

“Originally I started out to win a medal at nationals,” Caroline Holland said. “My project is about the Clinton twelve. They were the first to desegregate public schools in the South. [My project] is a documentary and tells about how they were able to change racist attitudes, which ultimately helped to change Jim Crow laws in America.”

She said an article about the opening of the Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton last summer sparked the idea, because she thought it would be “interesting” to interview these people.

Holland said, “I thought it would be a better project if I did a documentary. It would be a great opportunity to preserve the interviews for other people to see, and I was thinking about donating the video to the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.”

For the past two years Holland’s projects have been individual performances, so the shift to a documentary had some drawbacks.

“I really didn’t know what I was getting into with a documentary. In the state competition I received all superiors on my content, but I didn’t do so well on my computer skills. That’s really what held me back. Now I’m trying to fix my project, but I don’t know if it’s possible to do it in time and within the rules of the history day competition. Now my goal is to finish the video of the Clinton twelve to give to the cultural center to help preserve the story,” she said.

“Although if I did win a medal, it would be the icing on the cake,” she added. “I just really want the story about the Clinton twelve to get out, because I know that the Little Rock nine always gets the credit to be the first to desegregate the South and it’s not true. Clinton twelve really was the first.”

Holland said she believed the controversy and drama surrounding the Little Rock school fueled the myth that they were the first.

“I think [the Little Rock nine] are believed to be the first because they had the government against them. They were the most dramatic story,” she said. “The government was on the side of the Clinton twelve.”

Holland credits her parents and her teacher for her success in the competition.

“My parents are very supportive of me and are giving up their summer vacation to take me to Washington D-C for the competition,” she said.

“I’m very thankful for that,” she added. “In seventh-grade [the competition] started out as a school project that my history teacher made mandatory. I didn’t really have an interest in it at first, but I have always had an interest in the history of women’s rights and the history of civil rights. [The competition] is a great way for children who do have an interest in history to show their talents in research, and it can really help you get better at research and writing.”

The title for Holland’s project is “Clinton’s 12 Unsuspecting Warriors Trium-ph Despite the Tragedy of Racism.”

For additional information on the Clinton 12 or the Green McAdoo Cultural Center, visit www.greenmcadoo.org/index.html.

 

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