Inspired By the WASP: Avery Daugherty & Jessee Ford's Documentary Earns Them a Place in the National History Day Competition!

by Jess Clackum

Avery Daugherty & Jessee Ford, friends and collaborators. (Photo credit: Kameron Daugherty)

Avery Daugherty & Jessee Ford, friends and collaborators. (Photo credit: Kameron Daugherty)

Avery Daugherty and Jessee Ford, students at Baseline Middle School in South Haven, Michigan were recently chosen to compete at the National History Day Competition to be held June 12-16, 2016 at the University of Maryland, College Park. The event brings together thousands of middle and high school students, parents and teachers from all over the world.

Avery and Jessee are no strangers to filmmaking. In 2015 they placed 2nd in the Regionals with a documentary Nikola Tesla - The Man Who Held Lightning. 

This time around, inspired by stories of strong women, Avery and Jessee knew once they discovered the WASP, that was the story they wanted to tell. The result of their hard work and effort is a documentary titled Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A WASP, in which they have demonstrated exceptional research, interview and storytelling skills.

Avery & Jessee during the judging for the first round at the Regionals, Western Michigan University (Photo credit: Kameron Daugherty)

Avery & Jessee during the judging for the first round at the Regionals, Western Michigan University (Photo credit: Kameron Daugherty)

Their documentary is perfectly timed, on the heels of the House and Senate passing their respective bills restoring inurnment rights for the WASP, which President Obama is expected to sign into legislation any day now.

As they moved through the stages of competition and edited and honed their documentary, Avery and Jessee learned of the movement spearheaded by Arizona Congresswoman and veteran combat pilot Martha McSally and Erin Miller, granddaughterof WASP Elaine Harmon, to restore the WASP inurnment rights at Arlington National Cemetery. It further emboldened them to tell this story and their passion for it is evident.  Avery and Jessee believe the WASP story is an important story to tell.

Avery says,  "We want people, particularly young girls to know they can do anything. The sky's the limit, literally. You don't have to be held back by gender barriers."  

Given their passion for filmmaking and history, it appears that the sky is the limit for Avery and Jessee. The legacy of the WASP will endure thanks to their contribution to telling the WASP story to the next generation...and beyond. We celebrate their passion and ambition and look forward to following them on this and many other journeys in the future.

The entire team at FlyGirls wishes Avery and Jessee the best as they prepare for Nationals!  

Avery & Jessee. We see a very bright future for these two! (Photo credit: Avery Daugherty)

Avery & Jessee. We see a very bright future for these two! (Photo credit: Avery Daugherty)


Attending the many competitions at the local, regional, state and national levels is costly.  If you would like to support Avery, Jessee, their families and teachers defray travel-related expenses as they head to College Park for National History Day, please click on their Go Fund Me site!