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Project earns Coupeville High School student trip to national competition
Heni Barnes spent months throughout the school year researching a project that earned her some national attention.
The Coupeville High School junior performed well enough at regional and state competitions to earn a spot at the National History Day competition that takes place next month in College Park, Md.
She produced a 10-minute documentary about the 1917 Pacific Northwest lumber strike that took place mostly in the lumber camps in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Her documentary earned first place honors at the regional competition in March and the state competition in May.
Barnes, who is also the student board representative to the school board, started researching her documentary in January. She interviewed college professors and archivists, gleaned information from libraries at Western Washington University, the University of Washington and Sno-Isle Libraries. She said the archivist from Weyerhauser also provided information for Barnes’s project and she also interviewed union officials.
The strike lasted about a year throughout the Pacific Northwest. The workers wanted an eight-hour work day rather than a 12-hour work day, better wages, safer working conditions and better living quarters at the lumber camps.
The workers were organized by the International Workers of the World, or IWW, and they resorted equipment sabotage, walk-offs, and work slowdowns where they would show up late and leave early, Barnes said. The strike occurred during World War I, which was a time the demand for lumber was high.
The government eventually stepped in to mediate, improved the hours and conditions and forming the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumberman that represented the workers, Barnes said.
The strike documentary fits well into her interests.
“I’ve always wanted to do a project on something that included IWW,” Barnes said. She described the strike as a “turning point” in history.
Residents had a chance to view her documentary at a community showing that took place Wednesday that was open to the public. They could also see the materials she used to produce the documentary and peruse her 42-page bibliography.
The National History Day competition is the first part of a busy summer for Barnes. She is participating in an archeology module at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, then she has a two-week summer residency at the University of Washington that is organized by the Washington Aerospace Scholars.
Barnes is also the class ASB president, performs in the jazz band and she throws the shot put, discus and javelin on the track team.
Once out of high school, she hopes to go to college and eventually become a planetary geologist and astronaut.