SJN students win state’s History Day contest

Laila Stempkowski and Kaylie Pomerantz, St. John Neumann Catholic School seventh-grade history students, won first place in the junior group documentary category of the state’s National History Day Tennessee contest in Nashville on April 9.

“This is a fantastic accomplishment for our students,” Janet Harrigan, SJN Catholic School director of admissions and development, said.

This win advances the girls to the national competition being held June 12 through June 16 at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., Harrigan said.

Pomerantz and Stempkowski created a documentary titled, “Exploration of Tennessee’s Journey to Desegregate Schools and Struggles Encountered Along the Way.”

“While researching their project, they interviewed a teacher involved in school integration, as well as Mr. Bobby Cain, who was one of the ‘Clinton Twelve.’ While at the state competition in Nashville, the students also received the special award titled, “Best Project in African-American History,” sponsored by the Planning Committee of the Nashville Conference on African-American History and Culture.

Pomerantz and Stempkowski won the East Tennessee History Award, presented by Randy and Jenny Boyd, earlier this spring at The University of Tennessee, Knox-ville.

The winning documentary may be watched online on YouTube at

For more about the National History Day competition, visit