Firesteel Phantoms Are the High School Local History Smackdown Champions
Contact: Kathleen Harter, (906) 337-3168
Contact: Brian Hoduski, (906) 337-3168
Last night, the Firesteel Phantoms of Ontonagon High School withstood 16 other teams to claim the traveling Smackdown trophy in the Seventh Annual High School Local History Smackdown. The team – Francesca Picotte, Thaine Fuller, and Matt Wetsel, coached by Tom LeGault – lasted 15 rounds, proving their expertise in the history of the four-county Copper Country in front of an appreciative, cheering crowd.
This Smackdown was no cakewalk: Firesteel Phantoms faced some fierce competition, particularly from the teams We Can Go to Finlandia for Free of the Hancock High School team and So Last Year from Jeffers High School who came in second and third places, respectively. Students were excited and tense as the questions got more difficult and the rounds continued. All three teams had seasoned students that had competed in past years.
Each of the 68 students took center stage at the Calumet Theatre to field questions about local history, on topics ranging from ethnic customs to mining processes. The top three teams won pizza parties, while the champions will have their names engraved on the Smackdown trophy and take home a $100 gift certificate for their school library for local history books. Each of the winning students also received an 8 GB jump drive.
"These students really know their history," said Keweenaw National Historical Park historian Jo Urion. "They should be really proud of themselves." Kathleen Harter, the park’s Chief of Interpretation, added "They studied hard and their knowledge and teamwork were on display tonight. It was great to witness so many students and teachers interested in local history."
The contest was part of the "Fourth Thursday in History" program, sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park. Additional support for this year's Smackdown was provided by the Calumet Theatre, as well as Range Bank, River Valley State Bank, Pat's Foods and Festival Foods, Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, Homestead Graphics, Jim's Foodmart, and the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.
Did You Know?
Many copper mining companies in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula followed a management practice known as corporate paternalism. The companies provided housing, schools, hospitals, libraries, bath houses and other amenities in order to attract and retain a loyal and productive workforce.