Aberdeen - A Coupeville student has won the 2009 "Voyages of Exploration and Discovery Award," which is sponsored by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority as part of the annual Washington History Day. Kelly Snoden, a junior at Coupeville High School in Coupeville, wrote an historical research paper on Charles Darwin, his voyage on the research ship HMS Beagle, and the influence of his family on the end of the British slave trade in the early 19th century. Later this summer, Snoden will spend two weeks aboard the Lady Washington, the Official Ship of the State of Washington. Aboard the ship, she will learn first-hand about the lives of tall ship sailors aboard vessels similar to the Beagle.
Washington History Day is affiliated with National History Day, and annual event which encourages students to become historians by developing research, analysis, presentation and social skills. Working individually or in groups, junior (grades 6-8) and senior (9-12) division students select a topic related to an annual theme. They conduct extensive historical research using primary sources, articles, and books, then distill their research and analysis into a dramatic performance, multimedia documentary, museum exhibit, website, or research paper.
The competition features a number of special awards, including GHHSA's Voyages of Exploration and Discovery Award. The GHHSA award recognizes an outstanding senior individual entry in maritime heritage-related voyages of exploration, discovery, and trade in the 18th to mid-19th centuries. The award includes a full scholarship for a two-week apprenticeship aboard the Lady Washington. Washington History Day organizers announced the winner on April 25.
Snoden, 17, has six years of experience sailing racing craft, though she has no experience on square-rigged vessels such as Lady Washington. "I'm obsessed with sailing, so this award was perfect for me," she says, adding that she is considering a career in the US Navy.