KINGSTON — Almost 100 years after sneaking into factories to photograph brutal and abusive child labor, photographer Lewis Hine continues to inspire.
Hine was the subject of Kingston Junior High ninth grader Kristen Sprague’s history day project, a display board with several of Hine’s images fixed to it.
Sprague is one of the many North Kitsap students who did well enough at the regional history day competition, held at Olympic College Wednesday, to move on to state.
Sprague said she had always been interested in the history of child labor in industrial America; but some of Hine’s photographs made him the center of her project.
“When I saw some of the picture he had taken, it took my breath away,” said Sprague.
Hine posed as a salesman or fire inspector to get into factories; his photographs of child labor are still viewed today.
Sprague will travel to Ellensburg for the state competition, which she has been to before: “It’s an interesting experience. You get to see all these great projects, and it’s great to know yours is one of them.”
While Sprague fashioned her project around a turn-of-the-century photographer, classmate Scott Shawcroft, who like Sprague is a student of KJH teacher De’ Mackinnon, looked into the future for his presentation.
Shawcroft wrote a paper about transistors, and the impact the tiny devices have had on the technological revolution of the past few years. To do so, he interviewed one of the co-founders of Intel (after communicating with him by e-mail; natch).
“It’s just something people don’t give credit to for the technological revolution,” Shawcroft said of the tiny transistors, “and I wanted to bring that up.”
Students like Sprague and Shawcroft travelled to Olympic College last Wednesday to compete against other students in the region. With them they brought documentaries, papers, display boards, or even costumes and scripts, which they used for dramatic performances.
The projects had to be tied to the theme “Revolution, Reaction and Reform.”
Students could compete in junior division (seventh and eighth grade) or senior (ninth grade).
From Kingston Junior High, those who qualified to compete at state are Kearney Bangs, Jason Stemmler, Joanna Kaiserman, Rachael Clark, Sara Hall, Caitlin Frazier, Ryan Ferlund, Brian Parrott, Hannah Stevens, George Watrous, and (in the senior division) Sarah Huntington, Scott Shawcroft, Mallory Ferlund, Megan Hoffman, Kristen Srpague, and Andrew Richards.
Poulsbo winners who will be moving on to state include Bethany Friesen, Julia Boubel, Ella Sanman, Matt Romero and Kevin Jones, Kyle Hollenback, Justin L. Griffin, and Billy Riere, Mickey Nussbaumer, Jonathan Berry and David Dobson, Jennifer O’Connor, Jacob Zarnecki, and Rosie Bromberg.
Mary Lou Macala, one of the teachers whose students attended the competition, said, “It was very interesting; they just loved being able to see what other students put together.”
Macala said some students are already planning their projects for next year.