Teen historian: Morehouse prepares for last contestKatie Morehouse has portrayed five different women at the National History Day Contest for the past five years. This year, the Jamestown High School senior will play her last history day role, Amelia Bloomer.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Katie Morehouse has portrayed five different women at the National History Day Contest for the past five years. This year, the Jamestown High School senior will play her last history day role, Amelia Bloomer.
National History Day runs from June 13-17 at the University of Maryland campus where roughly 2,400 students and their parents from across the nation and U.S. territories present different history projects, said Barbara Carlson, president of the North Dakota History Day Board.
Some project categories include: exhibits, papers, documentaries, and Morehouse’s category, individual performance.
“I think she’s probably the only one who has stayed in one category for so long,” Carlson said. “And she’s constantly improved because she takes what she learns one year and applies it the next year.”
Morehouse will take the stage as Amelia Bloomer, the women’s rights activate whose name is associated with the first pair of pants women wore, opening the door to a myriad of opportunities.
“It was actually the start of women wearing pants,” Morehouse said.
Bloomer also published, edited and wrote for The Lily, a newspaper focused on temperance and suffragette issues, she said.
“I enjoy learning about different women in history, not only women but history in general,” Morehouse said.
She has in the past portrayed Joan Baez, folk singer and activist; Sarah Edmonds, Canadian-born Union solider in the Civil War; Olympia Brown, suffragist and ordained minister; Jane Addams, founder of the U.S. Settlement House movement; and Helena Wink, the Jamestown woman who was the area’s first woman doctor.
Her performance last year as Wink is still being requested by different social clubs in the area, she said.
From start to finish, Morehouse said she puts in between 250 and 300 hours of her free time researching, writing her script and helping make her costume. History Day is not part of the curriculum in North Dakota.
“I never stop working on my history day projects because there’s so much more for me to learn,” she said.
The work students put into these projects increases their communication skills, research ability, and writing skills, Carlson said.
“It gives them skills they’re going to use later in life,” she said. “It’s not just a one-time thing.”
Morehouse already has plans to use some of her talents in the theatre and English departments at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., where she plans to attend in the fall.
“I’ll be busy but I think I’m going to miss it (History Day) because it is such an experience,” she said.
Morehouse said she can use those skills to prepare for her last History Day performance but needs practice to perfect her role, and funds to make the trip to the capital.
Last year, for the first time in five years, different service clubs in the area paid to have Morehouse give her performance and the trip was at no cost to her family, said Katie’s mother, Lu Morehouse.
“We appreciate it so much,” Katie said.
To set up a performance for a social group, call Lu at 320-1412 or 952-8979. Donations can be sent to 1315 Western Park Village, Jamestown, N.D., 58401.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com