Students head to national competition for history documentary

BROOKFIELD — The end of the school day or the weekend off definitely does not mean a break from learning for Brookfield Central High School students Natalie Mathes and Hayley Gray-Hoehn. The two have a passion for history and spent months working on a documentary that’s making its way into a national competition — the National History Day Contest.

“I am just so driven by the discoveries and finding out new things and I get addicted to the research process,” Gray-Hoehn said.

“We are Women, Hear Us Roar” is the name of the piece the girls put together.

It highlights the 1968 strike of female workers at the Ford plant in Dagenham, England over unequal pay.

“To stick to their guns and fight it out until they got equal pay was great and highly motivational for me as I head on to college and pursue various careers,” Mathes said.

This was not part of a school project. This was all done on their own time.

“It’s been incredible just as a teacher to see the students go so much farther and the level of scholarship these young ladies did and the interviews and all of the work they put into their research was extraordinary,” Brookfield Central High School Social Studies teacher Christopher McBride said.

The girls were even able to track down and interview some of the women who were a part of the strike.

“They’ve made such a huge impact on history and  that’s really cool that people sometimes don’t set out to do that but do,” Gray-Hoehn said. 

All of the students participating in the competition had to stick to the theme “revolution, reaction and reform in history.”

Gray-Hoehn and Mathes already made their way through the regional and state competition. Now, nationals is less than two weeks away.

“I think it will be a really, really cool experience and I can’t wait,” Gray-Hoehn said.

Although they’re feeling a little nervous, the two are excited to put their hard work on display.

The National History Day Contest is June 10th to 14th at the University of Maryland.

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