Winners for the annual Heritage Trail project were announced at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School this week. The project involves sophomore history students who go out and trek the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard, and then do a research project which is judged. Projects fall into categories: writing, art, physical projects and electronic projects.

The winners this year are as follows:

Written papers, first prize for creativity and depth of comprehension went to Julia Sadowski for a poetry series she wrote about African Americans on the Vineyard; second prize went to Patrick Hart who wrote a grant proposal for the Heritage Trail project.

Art projects, first prize for research and artistic interpretation went to Heather Welch for her bust sculpture of Rebecca Amos; second prize was shared by Bree Buchanan for her painting of Louisa Izett, and to Augusta Dillon for her painting titled Visions of Africa.

Physical projects, first prize for visual appeal went to Shaelah Huntington for her wooden map of the heritage trail using wampum and sea glass; second prize went to Atoine Wafer for his representation of the former Frye cobbler shop in Oak Bluffs.

Electronic projects, first prize for creativity and skill went to Megan Pettick who made a recording about slavery titled Ghost Ship; second prize went to Michael Kendall who designed a Web site about the five West Tisbury women who were active in the civil rights movement in the 1970s.

Honorable mentions went to Sarah Hall (Heritage Trail collage), Austin Gampfer (Ghanian sculpting), Julie Pringle (paper on Capt. William Martin), Anna Hayes and Lauren Gray (enslavement on the Vineyard), Jeffrey Duart (Heritage Trail in Aquinnah), Liam McCarthy, Forest Marcourt, Max Conley (wreck of City of Columbus).

A physical trail with 19 sites that traces the Island African American experience from before the American Revolution through today and tomorrow, the Heritage Trail is also a public history project that involves students and research to preserve history for future generations.

Begun by high school global studies teacher Elaine Weintraub in 1997, the Heritage Trail project has grown and today includes participation by every member of the sophomore class.

“Each year it gets better, and I think the students really get a lot out of it because it gives them a close sense of history in their own community. And because they are free to choose their own approach, they really delve into the research,” Ms. Weintraub said following a small awards ceremony on Wednesday morning at the high school.

“It was interesting and I think we are lucky to have an Island to research because it is something we are familiar with,” award winner Lauren Gray said.

Winner Sarah Hall agreed that it was a good history lesson.

“It’s close to home,” she said.

Judges this year were high school principal Margaret (Peg) Regan, high school senior Jeron Chaplain, Heritage Trail board members Al Mahoney, Carrie Tankard and Arthur Hardy Doubleday, high school technology director Woody Filley and Vineyard Gazette editor Julia Wells.

The projects were on display at the high school library for three days last week; a number of them will be on display at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum for the next several months.