As the end of the school year draws near, Alain Locke students are making us proud by recognizing the contributions of past generations to American history.

Seventh-graders Michelle, Nylah, D’Shanti and Tiona brought home “Red Ribbon” awards from the Illinois History Day competition. The annual event is designed to promote the study of local and state history.

Michelle and Nylah presented on “The Radium Girls”—the group of women who aided U.S. soldiers during Word Wars I and II through their manufacturing of essential supplies. The radium-based substances with which the women worked caused adverse affects to their health, often leading to death.

D’Shanti and Tiona shined light on the hazards of the meat-packing industry, which were addressed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Roosevelt’s Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act sought to eliminate poor conditions for workers while reducing health risks from food products for consumers.

The Illinois History Day competition was held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield on May 3. Students grades 6-12 are invited to submit research papers, exhibits, documentaries, performances and websites to the competition each year.

Visit illinois.gov for more information on the Illinois History Day competition.