DURANT — Hard work led Mannsville sixth-graders to win first place at the National History Day competition with the project “Work Pays America.”

Winning the regional event at Southeastern Oklahoma State University advances the group to the state competition in May.

The project was over the Works Progress Administration created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

Students researched projects done in Oklahoma, which included their own school gym. At the event, they had to answer questions from judges on their research.

“Doing this project surprised me—we got something from history and could put it together on board,” said sixth-grader Alion Morgan.

Fifth-graders also attended the contest, giving speeches about famous people who made a difference in history. Each received a medal of excellence.

“I think the day was fun. I got scared when it was my turn, but I think everyone should participate. It was awesome,” said fifth-grader Trinity Lewis.

Students were also able to eat lunch at the Student Center and tour the campus with SOSU Ambassadors.

“The best thing was coming to the college and getting to see some new things,” said fifth-grader Nathaniel Mefford. “Learning how to stand up in front of people and give a speech—I know how to do that now.”

The trip inspired the young students to start thinking about college.

“What I gained from the whole trip was that college is awesome and you can’t judge something if you have never tried it. I liked coming,” said fifth-grader Dystiny Eberhart.

The group was led by adviser Nellie Garone, English teacher Twanda Hill and social studies teacher Justin Shaw.

“We had three teachers cooperating on this project to give the students the widest chance at learning and succeeding,” Garone said. “We could not be prouder of the students. This is our first year to compete and we learned some incredible facts about history.”