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Deborah Pickman Clifford Prize Winners

The Vermont Historical Society presents Vermont History Day each spring, an annual contest for students in grades 5 through 12 and homeschool students ages 10-18.  

VCW’s Education and Research Foundation funds the Deborah Pickman Clifford prize for the most outstanding History Day entry related to women who have contributed to our state, or to the role that women have played in Vermont history.  VCW Commissioners often serve as judges for this cash prize in honor of Deborah Pickman Clifford, an accomplished Vermont historian and author. Among her works is a collection of biographies published in 2009, More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Vermont Women.

In 2022, students Roxanne Griffin and Reese Muzzy from Addison Northwest Supervisory District won for their project, Clarina Howard Nichols: The Woman Who Took a Stand and former VCW Commissioners Eileen Boland and Gretchen Bailey were there to award the prize. Eileen commented, "These girls had a great exhibit of one of my favorite feminists. They were so excited to win the prize. I was living in Lamoille County when the Clarina Howard Nichols Center was founded in 1981. It met an important need for women and their families."

2021 winner, Green Mountain High School student Violet Haight's project centered on Rutland native and ski racer Suzy ‘Chap Stick’ Chaffee.  This was one of two Vermont projects that went on to be virtually showcased by Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Chester Telegraph covered this story.

In 2020, to commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage, the Foundation awarded the prize to the project best reflecting that theme, and Annie Marek of Underhill won with her paper, The Suffragettes: Breaking Ballot Box Barriers.

In 2019, Samantha Colvin split the prize with project partner Kimari Collins for Child Labor Laws and the Mills and judges gave it a superior rating and high marks for interpretation and impact.

In 2018 Champlain Valley Union high school student Kali Adams won with Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines a website project exploring the life and legacy of then Vermont-based 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

2017 prize winners Adam Clark and Jerret Muzzy won with their exhibit about Lucy Terry Prince, author of the oldest known work of literature composed by a Black woman, and also the first Black woman who argued a case in front of the Supreme Court.  The exhibit won first place in History Day's junior group exhibits and qualified for National History Day.
In 2016 the prize went to homeschool student Kali Adams’ for her paper, Dorothy Thompson: Finding the Truth. Adam's thesis statement begins,"Journalist Dorothy Thompson wasn't afraid to write words she believed in. She was called the "First Lady of American Journalism" and the second most influential woman in America..."
2015 winner was Lilianna Ziedins of Crossett Brook Middle School for her documentary, Politics Through the Eyes of a Legendary Woman: Madeleine Kunin.