Nibley duo set to compete at National History Day

History can be fun. Just ask Alyssa Warner and Stuart Merriam.

The 12-year-old sixth graders from Thomas Edison Charter School in Nibley are taking their show on the road to the National History fair June 9-13 after winning the statewide competition with their mini-musical project.

“We’ve had a lot of fun doing this,” Merriam said. “We’ve been practicing a lot, so it’s easier. The trip itself is going to be awesome, but if I won that would be even more awesome.”

With the theme of “Make history come alive,” Warner and Merriam began working on their project in June of 2012, choosing to memorize lines and songs to share the story of musical reformers such a Joe Hill in the United States.

Their countless hours of research and memorization earned the top honor at the state fair and $1000 to split between the duo.

The secret to their success: ripstiking.

Warner said the pair would spend a lot of time riding their ripstiks – similar to a skateboard with two wheels – rehearsing lines and singing songs for their 10-minute musical to commit them to memory.

“We’d ride around my house, saying our lines over and over again while we were ripstiking,” Warner said. “We didn’t really have to do it with the songs, but the lines were harder.”

Now the stakes are higher, as the top project from the state of Utah at the national competition at the University of Maryland will earn scholarship money for college.

Whatever the result, both Warner and Merriam plan to continue their journey together. Both are planning on attending college together to become marine biologists.

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