The Great Depression of the 1930s may not hold much interest for many young school-age children, but for Brad Judd and Adam Marchant it is an intriguing time in history.
And the two Cedar City youths delighted in telling about it during the finals of the Utah History Fair this week in the University of Utah Union Building.Brad, 12, and Adam, 13, seventh-graders at Cedar Middle School, were among 400 student participants. With about 3,500 students in the finals and earlier events, the fair is the largest ever held, said fair director Bob Parson.
Students are encouraged to do research and to be creative in displays, live performances and media presentations, and in doing so gain better understand their cultural background and history, Parson said.
At their exhibit, Brad and Adam, both wearing short-brimmed caps, beamed as they talked to other students, parents and judges at the show.
The Depression "isn't too impressive to the younger generation, but it's impressive to those who lived during that time," declared Adam, who told about interviews with his grandmother, 70, and others who recalled the hard economic times.
The boys said they have learned to better appreciate the financial and other difficulties people encountered during the Depression. Today people "can just buy anything they want. They don't think anything like this will ever happen again," Brad said.
The history fair spurred research, design and planning in a variety of areas, from music and medicine to military maneuvers and colonization of the Great Basin.
Wearing pink pioneer-style dresses and handing out pieces of taffy were Natalie Young, 13, and Kellie Gardner, 12, seventh-graders at Dixie Middle School, St. George. They told of readings and other research for their exhibit, "Brigham Young and the Colonization of the Great Basin."
"I didn't know Brigham Young had settled so many places," Natalie said.
Brandon Archibald, 14, an eighth-grader at Granite District's Bonneville Junior High, proudly explained his display, "A Blast from the Past," for which he did research, made drawings and displayed guns that he and others have made.
One, a black powder cap percussion pistol, common in the 1800s, was made by Brandon and his father, Mark Snyder, as a gift for the boy's grandfather, J.B. Miles.
Brandon drew pictures of ammunition, black powder and breach loaders for the exhibit.
Lori Casper, 15, Salt Lake City, a grand-prize winner at her school fair, spent a lot of time and effort on her presentation, "Ku Klux Klan 1865 a Frontier of Racial Hatred."
"I love research. I couldn't get enough (my fill) of materials. I just love doing things like this," Lori said, outlining highlights of numerous readings and interviews with officers and other members of the Klan.
Jonathan Johnson, 13, and his brother, Luke, of Anonymity, Kane County, had a different type of exhibit. They and their father, Robert, brought many blacksmithing tools, including an anvil, old horseshoes and other equipment used in the early 1900s by their grandfather, Johann Friedrick Hafenstein, in a Wisconsin blacksmith shop.
Clad in a leather apron once worn by Hafenstein, Jonathan pulled out a 161/2-inch handmade screwdriver and a spoke-shave wood planer.
Beside the tools hung a sign, "In Here Time Is Your Friend Not Your Enemy."
The boys, who live with their family in a small community 2 miles south of Orderville, seem to enjoy reflecting on their heritage.
"It's fun learning about what our grandfather did," Jonathan said.