Murray sixth-graders Anna Lovat and Mairin Blank’s first-place win at the Minnesota History Day state competition in April took them to Maryland, where they competed at National History Day at the University of Maryland in College Park June 10-14.
Lovat and Blank’s winning Junior Group performance — “Sexual Harassment: The Conflict that Causes a Class-Action Lawsuit” — is about Minnesota Iron Ranger Lois Jensen, who led the charge to file what would become the nation’s first class-action lawsuit against sexual harassment. The girls won $500 from the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society at the state tournament.
After connecting on Facebook, the students began emailing Jensen herself over the past few months and made a trip to interview her in person. In May, they were the first historians to go through a box of personal materials Jensen donated to the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. They conducted original research at the Minnesota Iron Range Research Center and made the front page of the Mesabi Daily News for their efforts.
Lovat and Blank were accompanied at the national event by eighth-grader Sam Skinner, a junior group mentor and past competitor in the national competition. He has won fifth in the nation twice.