By Eric Erickson
Although the 2020-21 school year is over, several Como Senior High School students have achieved more honors this summer. Here is a news update:
JROTC team to D.C.
The JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) academic team composed of Jesiah Mason, Sophia Moore, Kimberly Sanchez-Mendez, and team captain Alex Le were to travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl Championship.
The JLAB championship event, conducted by the College Options Foundation, was scheduled to be held on the campus of The Catholic University of America from July 23 to 27.
Through preliminary rounds of competition this past school year that included 91 teams, Como’s cadets advanced to be one of only eight qualifiers for the finals and won an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital. The cadets are tested on their knowledge of core curriculum such as math, science and language arts, as well as current events, citizenship and leadership skills. JLAB promotes the values of education, service and college opportunity while allowing students to demonstrate their leadership and academic abilities.
Fairbanks’ History Day project
Como student Taylor Fairbanks produced a well researched History Day project involving her heritage. What she started in St. Paul ended up being showcased by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Taylor’s exhibit involved the White Earth Land Settlement Agreement in 1985. It advanced through school, regional and state competitions to reach National History Day. From that elite group of national qualifiers, Taylor’s project was selected to be Minnesota’s representative in the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a virtual showcase of 51 premier exhibits reflecting this year’s theme, “Communication in History.”
In a press release, Smithsonian American History Museum Director Anthea M. Hartig said, “We are excited and grateful to recognize the impressive work of these young scholars, and share it across our national network. Their work helps tell the complicated, difficult, and beautiful stories of the United States.”
Skinner presents eulogy for WWII vet
Como student Sam Skinner and Murray social studies teacher Courtney Major were one of 16 student-teacher teams throughout the U.S. chosen to participate in late June in the “Sacrifice for Freedom: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute in Hawaii.”
Skinner’s primary source research of a WWII veteran from Murray High School’s class of 1941 culminated with his delivery of a graveside eulogy for Signalman Arthur Barnard Engebretson at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
“It felt like a pilgrimage to the places that loomed large not only in our history, but in the stories that were written on the walls of Hickam Airfield and the sunken frame of the USS Arizona.” Skinner said. “It was all alive.”
Eric Erickson, a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High School, is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.