A group of seventh-graders and a group of eighth-graders from Breck School have won first-place awards in national history competitions.
Seventh-graders Melanie Blazar, Halcyon Brown and Cassidy Yueh won first place in the junior group display division of National History Day last month at the University of Maryland. Their project was titled "Power Over Pain: The Anesthetic Revolution."
Eighth-graders Claire Cousineau, Charlie Gamer, Kendall Kozikowski, Everett Naylor and Seamus Walsh won the junior division of the national World Savvy Challenge competition. World Savvy challenges students to devise solutions to real-life global problems -- in this case, sustainability.
Breck's team devised a plan to combat air pollution by installing solar panels on the school campus and implementing an incentives program to encourage more people to participate in carpools or ride the bus.
More than a half-million entries were received for National History Day relating to the theme "Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events."
Ashwin Senthilkumar, an Oak Point Elementary School sixth-grader, placed second overall in the male category of the Optimist International district speech competition in Watertown, S.D. Ashwin won the boys' segment of the local competition in March and the zone competition in Richfield in April.
At the district level, Ashwin competed against students from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and Manitoba in Canada for a chance to win a college scholarship. His speech addressed the topic: "How my optimism helps me overcome obstacles."
The Eden Prairie Optimist Club has sponsored the Optimist International Oratorical Contest in Eden Prairie for 15 years.