However, it's her love for history that has set this Kutztown girl, who attends The Noble Project Home School, apart from many of her peers.

By: Nils Groten

In many ways, Beatrice Ferreira is a typical 12-year-old seventh grader. She's interested in biology, soccer, skiing and the violin.

However, it's her love for history that has set this Kutztown girl, who attends The Noble Project Home School, apart from many of her peers.

Beatrice earned the PA Jamestown Award, giving her the opportunity to be one of 53 students nationwide to visit Jamestown on Nov. 9 as Student Ambassadors for the "Jamestown Live!" Webcast.

The event commemorates America's 400th Anniversary and is being hosted by world-famous journalist Gwen Ifill. The one-hour interactive Webcast from 1 to 2 p.m. on Nov. 9 will aim to educate students on the history of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

Beatrice will participate in the "Flag's Coming Home" procession as she symbolically brings the state flag of Pennsylvania back to Jamestown.

Beatrice will make the trip to Jamestown with her teacher and mother, Jane, on Nov. 7 and return to on Nov. 10. Beatrice has visited Williamsburg before, but she is excited to be making her first trip to Jamestown.

And how did this trip materialize?

"I had no clue that I was being selected (for "Jamestown Live!")," Beatrice said. "I entered a National History Day contest open to sixth through 12th graders and chose to do an individual performance."

The theme for the 2005-06 contest was "Taking a Stand in History," which Beatrice believed could best be represented by "The Uprising of 20,000: The Shirtwaist Factory Rebellion."

She got the idea for her performance from reading the Dear America book Hear My Sorrow, the diary of Angela Denoto, a shirtwaist worker and the daughter of Italian immigrants.

"This immigrant uprising occurred in New York City's lower east side in 1909," Beatrice said. "The International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) went on strike in 1909, and on March 25, 1911, there was a fire that killed 146 people, including girls as young as 13 and 14."

This fire remained the worst factory fire until 1993 when more people died in a factory fire in Thailand.

Beatrice's performance centered on a fictional character she created, modeled after a younger cousin of Clara Lemlich, who was a factory worker and a member of the union. She dressed as a factory worker from that era and used accurate props.

"My performance was a 10-minute dramatic monologue," said Beatrice, who visited the location in NYC where the factory used to be. Now it is the Brown Building, which is part of New York University. Before this, it was called the Asch Building. The factory was on floors eight through 10, the top three floors of the building.

She chose the individual performance, which she concluded with the factory fire. However, she also could have done a group performance of up to five people, an exhibit, documentary or essay.

To get to this point, Beatrice had success at Regionals in Lancaster, States at Penn State University and Nationals at the University of Maryland, but it wasn't without some tense moments.

"I exceeded my 10-minute time limit at Nationals for the first time ever, but still got seventh out of 14 contestants," Beatrice said. "I didn't find out that I'd gone over (the allotted time) until after the awards ceremony."

The top three in the individual performance category received cash prizes, but Beatrice didn't leave empty handed after she was given the PA Jamestown Award.

"As a student ambassador, I will get to interview such people as Dr. James Horn (author of A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America and director of research at Colonial Williamsburg) and Dr. William Kelso (director of archaeology at Historic Jamestowne)," Beatrice said.

Beatrice spent a lot of time researching and perfecting her performance. When she was finished, she had a 10-page bibliography. Now, it's time for her to enjoy herself.

"It's going to be a fun time being around a lot of other kids my age," Beatrice said. "I'm definitely doing National History Day again."

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