Oklahoma City students earn spot in national competition for historic documentary

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Clara Luper no doubt helped change history.

Luper held the first sit-in at an Oklahoma City drugstore, which eventually led to Katz drug stores ending segregation in multiple states.

“She really impacted society and she impacted the state,” said Baylee Melot, a sixth grader at St. Philip Neri Catholic School. “Oklahoma wouldn’t be the way it is without her and lots of people wouldn’t have the friends that they have without her.”

Sixth grade students at St. Philip Neri School in Midwest City have learned a lot about Luper.

They chose civil rights leader as their focus for National History Day.

“I wanted to pick Clara Luper because when I think of taking a stand, I think of big movements and the civil rights movement is something that really comes to mind,” Melot said.

They created a 10-minute documentary that’s now sending them to Washington, D.C. to compete on a national level.

“Having done a documentary, they could truly show Clara Luper’s impact to the fullest extent,”  Amanda Herron, teacher at St. Philip Neri School, said.

During the process, they interviewed another civil rights leader who knew Luper, Milton Roosevelt.

“There were so many stories that you can’t get from online. Stories about what she was like personally,” Judith Suarez, another sixth grader who created the documentary, said.

Their documentary is also a finalist to be shown at the Smithsonian institute’s African-American museum.

The girls are trying to raise $5,000 for their trip to the competition on June 10. So far, they’ve raised $750.

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