Southwest student wins national history competition

An energetic Southwest High School tenth grader, Chle Woodward, won first place at the National History Day Competition in College Park, Maryland last month.

The 16-year-old Woodward snared the prize in the individual performance category with a monologue entitled "The Woman Rebel: Margaret Sanger, the Law, and the Birth Control Revolution." Woodward beat out nine other high school students after winning competitions at the local, regional and state levels.

Woodward describes National History Day as a science fair for history. She chose performance as her category because she enjoys acting and was interested in studying women's rights. "I was inspired by Sanger, and how she basically made birth control legal in the United States," Woodward said.

Woodward says that topics like women's rights and birth control wouldn't be controversial at Southwest, but she tried to present both sides of the birth control issue in her monologue. This year's National History Day theme was Revolution, Reaction and Reform, and Woodward thought Sanger fit well. "Whether you agree or disagree with her work, you can't argue that she wasn't a revolutionary," she said.

The trip was Woodward's second to the national competition. Two years ago, as an Anthony Middle School eighth grader, she was a finalist in the performance category. Bob Ferguson, her former Anthony teacher who is now at Southwest, said it is unusual for one student to place twice at the national level. "Chle is a wonderful student, a shining star, and deserves attention for her hard work," he said.

Woodward says it was worth it: "I think it's fun. I like history - I like learning in-depth. I never would have learned this much about an individual woman in a regular class."