Video will compete for national honors, White House showing

Monday, June 2, 2003
Kelsey Murphy and Risco History teacher Michael Murphy look at source material used in her video presentation, "Red Tide Rising: NATO." (Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)

From Risco to Washington

RISCO - It began with a comment on the news.

Kelsey Murphy heard the newscaster talk about NATO and wondered what it meant. When an answer wasn't readily available, the inquisitive then 11-year-old started to do a bit of research.

She turned her interest into an award-winning video presentation, "Red Tide Rising: NATO," which will compete for honors at National History Day June 15-19 at the University of Maryland. The video is a look on the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its impact on the world.

"I learned how far back NATO started and it is still going," said Kelsey. "About how they wouldn't back down and went through one war and now are going through another."

While it was a topic that interested her, Kelsey said it was one that surprised the judges. "The judges were amazed I did my project on NATO with the politics and all the military and stuff," she said. "But I think anybody should do any subject they want to do."

While competing on the youngest level her first two years the youngster created display boards, this year she decided to try a media presentation so while she was researching NATO she was also researching Power Point presentations and video production.

Like so many History Day projects, it became a family project. Kelsey enlisted her parents, Misty and Shawn Murphy, in the research and production. Mrs. Murphy laughed recalling how she studied "Power Point for Dummies" to help her daughter, who often had the steps completed before she finished reading.

From late December into January and February they searched for information and pictures. "I gave up counting the hours we worked on it after 200," Mrs. Murphy said.

Added Kelsey: "It took a long time but it was just fun when we would find something - like the flags for the video."

When Kelsey made her presentation to Risco High School history teacher Michael Murphy, he said he knew it had national potential. "The content was there, the pictures matched with the research."

Also he praised her narration, calling this essential to a top media production. "She has a very clear narration, especially when you consider she is a sixth grade student."

He admits he didn't tell her how good her project already was, instead encouraging her to work harder and make improvements. She added a speech by Harry Truman on the importance of NATO and practiced answering questions from Murphy in anticipation of questions from the judges.

Murphy had the youngster present her video at a Missouri conference on history, where she received feedback and praise on her efforts. At the state competition she won first place and the right to go to nationals.

"History Day is fun and you learn a lot," said Kelsey about her experiences so far. "You don't get credit for it but you still learn a lot."

Now, the Murphys plan to turn Kelsey's win into a family vacation. The winner will be joined by her parents and her 8-year-old brother, who will visit Washington, D.C., during their trip.

And there may be one more bit of history to be made for the small-town youngster. Her video was nominated to be shown at the White House Visitor's Center while she is there. That she summed up would be "neat."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: