History students take a stand

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copyright the Chronicle March 22, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

  

NEWPORT — In 1967, authorities tried to drag Kathrine Switzer off the course in the middle of the Boston Marathon because she was a woman.

Women weren’t officially allowed to run in the event until 1972. Ms. Switzer had gotten a race number by filling out the entry form with just her initials.

Robin Nelson, an eighth-grader at Glover Community School, won a first prize in the NEK History Day fair in Newport last Thursday for her research on Ms. Switzer.

In just a few weeks, Robin and the rest of her family will be in Boston cheering her mother, Tara Nelson, across the finish line.

Of the 30,000 entries in this year’s race, about half with be women.

Ms. Switzer, who went on to win both the Boston and New York marathons after they were opened to women, took a stand for equality in her sport, Robin said.

But Robin’s choice of project highlights another trend at this year’s NEK History Day event.

Maybe it was the theme of this year’s national and local history day events — “take a stand for history.” Or maybe it was the recent election, the national political climate, and the widely publicized women’s marches around the country.

But just over a third of the projects entered in this year’s NEK History Day were about women.

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