Alice Paul and Lucy Burns may not be household names to most.

To a couple of Summit Middle School sixth-graders they are heroines.

Jacie Smith and Colby Lower conducted research about Paul and Burns, two important figures from the women’s suffrage movement, which resulted in women gaining the right to vote.

Then they built a display featuring their heroines, judged Thursday in a social science-citizenship fair at the University of Central Oklahoma, sponsored by UCO and the American Democracy Project.

Students in grades 5-8 from Summit, Carl Albert Junior High School and the Belle Isle Enterprise School wrote essays or entered projects.

All participants received certificates and the top three winners in each category received medals.

“Heroes and Heroines: Citizens of the Planet Past and Present” was the theme of this year’s fair.

It is designed to provide citizenship models from which students can gain inspiration and a desire to become more caring, engaged citizens themselves, said coordinator Jim Baker, UCO history professor.

Summit winners were: (Sixth grade) Anna Zhao (1st) and Jontrea Traylor (3rd); (Individual project) Nathan Adler (1st), Codie Howard (2nd) and Andrew Zabloudil (3rd); (Partnership) Katy Long and Casea Boyd (1st), Adrianna Doyal and Allison Castleberry (2nd) and Clara Thomson and Miranda Chisholm (3rd).

Summit was the only Edmond school participating as a group.

Smith said the experience of learning about the women’s suffrage movement has inspired her to want to make a difference in her own way.

Alice Paul, Smith learned, was one of the leading figures responsible for the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

Lucy Burns, Lower learned, was a close friend of Paul’s. They formed the National Women’s Party.

The display contained a 1913 New York Times newspaper clipping about a 5,000-woman suffrage march Burns and Paul organized, Smith said.

They marched out of frustration.

“President Wilson didn’t grant the wish after he promised he would grant it,” Wilson said.

To bring attention to the issue of women’s suffrage, starting in 1916, the NWP organized women who formed picket lines near the White House. Burns and Paul were put in jail, where they waged a hunger strike.

Even today, in different ways, women and men are not treated equally, Lower and Wilson said.

Summit sixth-grader Jacob Snider’s hero was his relative Robert Snider, who served in World War II.

“I really didn’t know who he was except that he served in the Army,” Snider said. “He really had an amazing life.”

During the war, Snider learned, Robert Snider was wounded in action. As sometimes is the case in war, for a while, his relatives back in the States didn’t know if he was dead or alive.

Summit sixth-grader Pali Demuth’s heroine was Olympian Shannon Miller. Demuth said she chose the gold medal winner because she likes gymnastics and because Miller’s from Edmond.

Carl Albert Junior High eighth-grader Jordan Evans chose Jackie Robinson, who became the first African American Major League Baseball player of the modern era in 1947.

“He was encouraged to continue after taking threats and being beaten,” Evans said.

Evans said he learned Robinson had three children, one of whom was killed in a car accident.

(Education reporter Mark Schlachtenhaufen may be reached via e-mail at


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