Elisabeth Huls is Washington-bound in one week.
The Brown County High School sophomore won first place in the high school papers category in the state National History Day competition. She submitted a paper on Albion Fellows Bacon, the woman who founded the YWCA.
“For papers, it’s horrible, because (I had) to submit it a month early, while everyone else got extra time to work on their projects,” she said.
She could have made a PowerPoint presentation or a posterboard, but she still chose to submit a paper.
Hers won the local National History Day competition and moved on to the state competition in Indianapolis, where it won yet again — sending Huls to the nation’s capital June 15 to 18, where her project will compete against papers from across the country.
Alecia Adams is the high school’s History Day sponsor. She said she thought Huls was an “anomaly” for a high school student.
“From the beginning, she had a goal,” Adams said. “She’s more goal-oriented than most high school students.”
Adams said it was satisfying to see her move on so far. But she said what really came as a shock was an invitation for Huls to have breakfast with some congressmen on Capitol Hill.
“We didn’t know that Breakfast on the Hill existed,” Adams said.
Adams learned Huls had been nominated to go to the breakfast a week after she won the state history competition. Huls had been selected because her history project focused on a woman integral to the state’s history.
Huls doesn’t yet know with whom she will be having breakfast. For her, it’s just a bonus alongside the competition she was already looking forward to.
“I’m looking forward to exploring the city and meeting people who know about history — people I can ‘nerd out’ with,” she said.
When she’s not busy with history competitions, Huls is involved in a variety of other activities.
She plays tennis and volleyball, is part of Spanish Honor Society and student council, and is on the Youth Education Community Team — a branch of the Brown County College and Career Success Coalition, which focuses on students aiding other students.
“What else would I do with my time?” she said.
Some Saturdays, she joins the We the People group for Saturday school, helping the junior high students practice their speeches for state and national competition and giving constructive feedback. Huls participated in We the People in junior high, and she asked to come back and help the group.
“It’s really neat that she comes back and helps,” said Mike Potts, a junior high teacher and We the People sponsor. “She was one of the best we’ve had go through the program.”
Potts said her time in We the People may have helped her achieve her success with National History Day, but he believed she already had enough self-confidence.
“She didn’t need my help,” Potts said.
Huls plans to win in Washington, but even if she doesn’t she already knows what will happen next.
“I’ll just keep competing,” she said.
Elisabeth Huls has a website to help her raise money for her stay in Washington June 15-18. She is looking to cover gas, hotel and food costs. Find it at gofundme.com/t2ata2w.
As of June 5, $280 was pledged toward her $1,000 goal.