Markella Markotsis and Renee McKean collaborated on a delightful group exhibit project on the World War I Hello Girls that won first place honors in Huntington High School’s National History Day contest.
The two gifted sophomores titled their exhibit, “Hello Girls: The Heroines of Communication in World War I.” It fit nicely into this year’s National History Day theme of Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”
The research partners said that the “Hello Girls were critical to the war effort because they knew how to speak both English and French, which enabled them to translate through telephone switchboards. These brave Hello Girls did the work the men could not do so that the French Army could efficiently receive commands.”
The women processed calls between American and allied troops throughout France during World War I. They were close to the front lines and completed training that prepared them for every possible contingency, including wearing gas masks to defend against chemical attacks.
“Last year, Markella and I did a project about women and we really enjoyed learning about the importance women had in history so this year we wanted to find a topic about women as well, which is where we got the idea of our project, ‘The Hello Girls,’” Ms. McKean said. “We worked really hard with our research and enjoyed learning about these brave women. We had fun putting together our board and loved creating different ideas for the final product. We are really proud of ourselves with the outcome and are excited for the next round.”
Participants in this year’s National History Day competition were invited to submit work in a variety of formats from individual and group exhibits and websites to historical papers and individual and group documentaries.
“We felt strongly about choosing a topic about women,” Ms. Markotsis said. “We like learning about women and their role in history! We worked really hard on the display and design of the project and we were really happy with how things ended up working out. “We were awarded the Women’s History Award last year, which also motivated us to do another project about women.”