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NRMS students compete at history event

Three New Richmond eighth-graders recently attended the state History Fair competition in Madison. Ali Parfitt, Gaby Cruz and Harley Leavens were selected to represent New Richmond with their performance piece about Oprah Winfrey.

The History Fair theme was "Revolution, Reaction and Reform," they said. All projects -- whether they were a performance piece, website, documentary, research paper or display - had to fit within the theme.

After deciding they wanted to do a performance piece, the three girls got together and brainstormed ideas, said Leavens.

The list of people was narrowed down to Steve Jobs, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was chosen because the girls consider her a classic, they said.

"Steve Jobs was too easy," Parfitt said. "We thought a lot of people might pick him."

Leavens agreed.

"We liked Michelle Obama, but Oprah has been around for a longer time," she said.

From the local History Fair, the girls were selected as one of 22 projects to advance to the regional competition in Eau Claire. In Eau Claire the girls placed first, which earned them a spot in the state competition. At state, they competed against 13 other performance projects.

The local and regional competitions were very beneficial in helping the girls prepare for the state competition, they said.

The performance is an interview with Cruz acting as Oprah.

"They wanted us to go deeper into our topics and go deeper into our answers, so we changed our script and added information," Leavens said.

"They wanted us to add more resources, so we did that too," Cruz said.

The girls said they have been working on their project since November.

While Cruz gets to see the questions ahead of time, she said it was hard to memorize the answer and sometimes she needed to improvise.

"We do put things on little notecards but Oprah has done so much," Parfitt said. "It's hard to remember all the things she's done and all the places she's worked for."

Of the 13 performance groups, only one was chosen to move on to the national competition.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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