SILVER LAKE — In one corner stood a display on a man who fought to end child labor.
Another was about the Russian soldier who refused to launch a nuclear missile. Still others featured German students who opposed Adolf Hitler and the founder of Planned parenthood.
Riverview eighth-graders chose many individuals to research as part of their National History Day projects. It showed Wednesday as they presented the information they had gathered.
"This year's theme is 'Taking a Stand in History,'" teacher Stacy Evans said, adding this is the first year students at Riverview have entered the national research-based contest.
For one student, Savana Andershock, the project included taking a stand of her own by attending the Women's March in Chicago late last month.
"I have a lot of strong women role models in my family," Andershock said. "It was my first march and I'm happy I went to it."
Andershock said the fact Planned Parenthood is still at the center of national controversy led her and classmate Anna Wischnowski to research the work of Margaret Sanger, the organization’s founder. They presented their findings and their thesis on how Sanger "took a stand" to judges Wednesday.
"They showed poise and confidence," judge Heidi Zavake said. "You could tell they did their research."
More than a half-million students nationwide take part in the annual contest. They can choose to portray their chosen historical figure, or present their research at a display table or on a computer.
Evans said Riverview students took two trips to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater library to conduct their research.
"This was a great learning experience for the students as they worked alongside college students doing the same kind of research they were doing," Evans said.
Garrett Christiansen, Hannah Andre and Cece Lukasick portrayed members of the White Rose Society, who were convicted of high treason and executed for their effort to lead a resistance campaign against Adolf Hitler.
"We started looking at people who tried to stop him," Andre said.
Their search led them to siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl and Alex Schmorell, who were moved to distribute anti-Hitler leaflets at the university they attended after witnessing the dehumanization of their Jewish friends as children.
Other historical figures students chose to study fought for inclusion and against violence and unfair treatment.
Students will use the judges’ comments from Wednesday’s presentations to prepare their projects for entry at the regional level. Top students can advance to the national competition held at the University of Maryland.