An Article about my project!

Two weeks ago, the “News Journal” in Wilmington, Delaware wrote an about my website. Here it is:

October 2, 2008
A modern view of Maryland historyCecil student develops prize-winning Web siteBy PAULA F. KELLYSpecial to The News Journal
ELKTON, Md. — Maryland History Day challenges students to ask questions about and to research significant historical events. While complacency could have directed Kyle Dixon to learn about desegregation from print for his entry, he sought primary sources that lived it.
Dixon’s efforts were rewarded. His Web site submission, “School Integration: The Long Difficult Road to Compromise,” about desegregation in Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, received first place at the county level and also garnered an honor on April 26 at the state contest, where more than 400 students competed.
A senior at Bohemia Manor High School, Dixon received the senior prize from the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The Maryland Humanities Council sponsors the event.
Tyler Haines and Andrew Nguyen from Rising Sun High School also were honored with a senior prize for their cryptology study, “The Molotov-Rippentrop Pact.”
Entry options included a paper, exhibit, one-act play or Web site on any topic with the theme of Conflict and Compromise. Dixon chose the Internet — a new approach in the contest this year — and it’s at www.cchistory.org/kyle.
Kyle focused on having as many primary sources as possible,” said Michael Means, Dixon’s history teacher. “He got much more depth and went out into the field. The site he put together is gorgeous. Ninety percent of the public would not know a high school student did it.”
Desegregation always held Dixon’s interest, but it was the death of John Andrews, a vice principal at Queen Anne’s County High School in Centreville, Md., that inspired the history buff to explore the issue further.
Dixon, also a theatre enthusiast, frequently visited the Queen Anne’s school to enjoy its plays. He always noticed Andrews, dressed in coat and tie, for whom everyone held an obvious respect.
After Andrews was killed on Aug. 23, 2007, in a car accident, Dixon learned that the 71-year-old man had come to Queen Anne’s County when desegregation was being implemented.
Months later, Means mandated that his Advanced Placement U.S. History class participate in Maryland History Day. Dixon immediately thought about Andrews. “I never knew him,” he said, “but he was still part of that inspiration for the project.”
The three upper Eastern Shore counties chose different routes to integration, Dixon discovered.
In 1966, Susan Boone was a senior at the newly built Queen Anne’s County High School, where she now is the media specialist and was a colleague of Andrews.
“Kyle pried me with well-structured questions,” Boone said.
The yearlong preparation for the new high school, she said, was a comprehensive and well-organized and involved representatives from each of the four county high schools, including the all-black Kennard. Everyone involved decided upon details such as school color and mascot. The opening year went smoothly, Boone said.
As a fifth-grader at Galena Elementary, Ellen Cook’s first day at school was frightening. She and six other youngsters traveled from Millington to the small town as part of the Freedom of Choice plan to introduce integration, but only because the county was in danger of losing its federal funding for not complying with the 1954 Supreme Court ruling.
In Cecil County, a lawsuit filed by the NAACP on behalf of a black naval family in Port Deposit prompted desegregation in the mid-1950s. By 1964, all the black schools were closed in the county, and integration was complete.
Like other schools nationwide, Delaware schools were to become desegregated following the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown v. The Board of Education. But few did. In 1958, the Supreme Court said it would no longer review desegregation cases; Delaware schools began a system of voluntary registration for blacks beginning in the first grade. Still, racial equality was not achieved as most blacks lived in Wilmington and in the New Castle area. In the 1976 U.S. District Court decision of Evans v. Buchanan, New Castle County was to become one school district. Students would be bused to the Wilmington and New Castle areas and vice versa for several years during their education to achieve a racially balanced education.
Dixon’s interest in the past comes as no surprise; he is a chip right off the old history block. His father, Mike Dixon, has been a history enthusiast since the age of 14 when he joined the Historical Society of Cecil County. He has served as society president, historian and board member. Kyle credits his father for fostering his pursuit through family trips to spots such as Gettysburg, Fort Delaware and Williamsburg. Mike Dixon countered that his son showed interest at age 5. Like his father, Kyle volunteers at the historical society, where he started a local high school yearbook collection that includes one from George Washington Carver, the all-black school that closed in 1964.
In the future, Kyle plans to teach high school history. Meanwhile, chronicling the past suits him fine. “It’s an important era of U.S. history that needs to be documented.”

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~ by Kyle Dixon on October 15, 2008.

One Response to “An Article about my project!”

  1. Looks good Kyle — keep up the good work!

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