Reprinted from the National History Day in Colorado February Newsletter
Rhiannon Szobody is an eighth grader at Broomfield Heights Middle School. When she began looking for topic ideas for this year’s theme Breaking Barriers in History, she was searching for a topic with two things: 1) Szobody wanted to research a local, Colorado History topic, and 2) she wanted to explore a project on women and gender barriers.
Szobody decided on the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, and in her quest for primary sources, reached to to the founder of the Hall of Fame, M.L. Hanson, for an interview. Hanson was not just willing, but excited to be interviewed, and Szobody cited Hanson and the experience as incredible.
The National History Day in Colorado program showcases students’ incredible work. “I was so excited to see Rhiannon’s work,” said Deb Radman. “She did a great job telling our story and I am delighted to be hosting her at our March 18th Induction Gala and ceremony.”
M. L. Hanson shown right in photo.
The story does not stop there, however. Szobody is to be hosted at the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Gala in March, and she will be donating her project to the Hall of Fame. Szobody also invited Hanson to the Broomfield Heights NHD Open House on January 28. Hanson invited the entire Board of Directors, many of whom, including the Deb Radman, Chair of the Board, 2020 Inductee Velveta Howell and a supporter who lives in Broomfield, did come to see Szobody’s project, as well as projects by other BHMS students.
Reflecting on the entire experience, Szobody says that History Day allowed her to “learn so much about things in history that are not taught in class. I really got to know so much about the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, and all the wonderful things women in our state have fought for.” She also said that her favorite part of the process was interviewing Hanson.
As for Hanson, she says, “Rhiannon’s project on the Hall was a dream come true when I reflect on our original vision 35 years ago. Having students realize the amazing contributions women have made to Colorado and beyond can provide real inspiration, motivation, and encouragement.” She adds, “writing women into history is more than completing our state’s past, but also hope for the future.”