June 30, 2011
Contact: Caitlin E. Chamberlain
(207) 441-0501

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. Congratulates Maine Participants in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest

Maine students place in the top twenty in two divisions.

AUGUSTA, Maine – Secretary of State Charlie Summers congratulates the Maine students who participated in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest held at the University of Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. June 12-16, 2011.  Over 2,400 middle school and high school students attended the contest.  Students qualified earlier this year at National History Day competitions held in each state. 

Caroline George, an eighth grade student from Bonny Eagle Middle School, placed 13th in the Junior Paper category with her paper entitled, “Samantha Smith: Darling Diplomat or Propaganda Pawn?”  Her paper argues that Samantha Smith’s influence on relations between the United States and the Soviet Union was largely positive, despite claims that she was used to cast the USSR in a more positive light. 

The Thornton Academy team placed 11th in the Senior Web Group category.  Sophomores Connor Mowatt, Nick Phillips, and Damion Taylor launched a website, “BongHits4Jesus,” that explores the issues surrounding the Supreme Court case, Morse v. Frederick.  The circumstances leading up to the case involved a student who unfurled a banner saying “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” when the Olympic Torch Relay passed through Juneau, Alaska in 2002.  The school principal confiscated the banner and suspended the student.  The website specifically focuses on how the Supreme Court interprets the First Amendment within a school environment.  Ultimately, the majority of the justices ruled in favor of the principal because the incident occurred at a school-sponsored event. 

?I am extremely proud of all the students for their hard work,? said Secretary Summers. ?It is clear that they put forth a tremendous effort in researching and analyzing their chosen topics, and I am confident this experience will serve them well in their future educational endeavors?

For more information about National History Day, please visit