Jun 12, 2014
Gabrielle Vance is on a roll.
The 8th grade student won both the New York City and New York State's History competition and will compete next week in the 2014 National History Day Contest.
Gabrielle, whose parent is a NABET/CWAer, is a remarkable young woman and quite the historian.
Gabrielle Vance's exhibit, Mother Jones and the Child Labor Laws, will compete next week in the National History Day Competition.
Starting Sunday, her exhibit Mother Jones and the Child Labor Laws, will compete with presentations by other students from around the nation in the Junior (Grades 6-8) Individual Exhibit category of the annual competition.
Upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, Mother Jones in 1903 organized a "Children's Crusade" march from Kensington, Philadelphia, to the Oyster Bay, New York, home of president Theodore Roosevelt. The march won the children's cause much attention and eventually led to reform of child labor laws not only in the United States, but across the world.
More than half a million schoolchildren, grades 6-12, from around the nation spend the better part of an academic year choosing historical topics, researching them and putting together presentations, beginning the painstaking contests of school against school, then community against community in the state contests to qualify for National History Day.
Part of Gabrielle's research included interviewing CWA President Larry Cohen about her topic, the famed labor organizer Mother Jones, then maintaining periodic e-mail communication, including to update him on her progress in the competition.
In January, she wrote to Cohen:
Thank you for the fantastic quote about Mother Jones. It is such a huge help to my project, and I am so grateful that you took the time.
And in a March 30, 2014 e-mail, Gabrielle said:
Dear President Cohen,
I came in first place for my project in my category in New York City's National History Competition! I will now move on to the statewide competition next month. I have so enjoyed learning about Mother Jones, her Children's Crusade, and child labor, and wanted to thank you again for all your help. To be able to discuss these issues with you and then to share them with a wider audience has been a great experience, one that I will never forget.
Thank you so much!
President Cohen couldn't be prouder of Gabrielle, telling her so and urging her on. And, soon enough, came news that Gabrielle had won the New York State contest and will be bringing her exhibit to a national audience.