3 Elmore County students to be featured in Smithsonian showcase

Three students from Stanhope Elmore High School will be featured in a competition in Washington, D.C.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MILLBROOK, Ala. (WSFA) - A group of Stanhope Elmore High School juniors will be representing Alabama at the nation’s capital.

Zamorie Gipson, ZoRiyah Ray and Sha’Hollene Smith have been working on a research project about the “Little Rock Nine” since the beginning of the school year.

The “Little Rock Nine” is a group of Black Arkansas students who sparked desegregation in U.S. schools.

“I feel like it’s very important to know where we came from so we know where we need to go in the future,” said Smith.

The trio recently won in their division at the Alabama History Day competition in Montgomery, which qualifies them to be featured in a live showcase at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

“If we go and do everything, like execute everything as we’re supposed to, it’s going to be fine,” said Gipson.

The group said they chose the “Little Rock Nine” as the topic of their history project because of how meaningful their role was in Black history.

“It means a lot to us because we’re all Black,” said Ray. “And that whole topic just helps us a lot, and we go to a mixed school too.”

Kathy Paschal, a history teacher at Stanhope Elmore High School, said the girls have been self-sufficient in their research for their exhibition.

“They knew what they wanted to do. They did the preliminary, and I said, ‘Oh, that looks good,’” Paschal said, “And they kind of ran with it from there, and they did a very good job.”

Gipson, Ray and Smith will compete with other groups from different states for scholarships and to have their work displayed at the Smithsonian.

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