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Local teen awarded for his passion for history at State Fair
Paul Porter describes himself as a history buff as his room is filled with items that date back more than two centuries.
Now he has a few state fair ribbons to go along with them.
Porter, a freshman at Carroll High School, won six ribbons last weekend at the State Fair of Texas for his entries in various history categories.
Among his awards was a first-place ribbon in the “political items” category in which he showcased a newspaper from 1800 that focused on the death of George Washington.
Included in the newspaper, which is now mounted behind glass for protection, is a poem written by a young girl about the first president’s death and a story written by his vice president John Adams.
“I bought the newspaper from a friend for $20,” Porter said. “I thought it was a neat thing to see. In my opinion, it belongs in a museum, but there aren’t many around who are interested in it.”
Porter admits that having the glass covering prevents people from getting a true feel for the newspaper.
Porter also received a first-place ribbon in the “junior kit” category for his tracked vehicle that he painted.
“That’s something I’ve been wanting to try,” Porter said, describing it as a sci-fi type of tank. “I’ve been a model painter for a couple of years, and this was one of my first projects that I finally finished. It’s interesting to see the layers of thinking of what it was then and what it is now.”
Porter placed second in the “junior diorama, military” category for his medieval theme, depicting a battle scene with knights on horses.
Porter placed first in the category last year.
“It was a year of experimenting for me,” he said. “I was keeping in the theme of second place in that category. This was just a new idea. I was experimenting in new model styles.”
Porter placed fourth in the “military items” category. For that, he displayed two Naval hats from World War I.
“It was interesting to see,” Porter said. “One of them was a classical hat. It hasn’t changed in years, so that took some of the appreciation out of it. But World War I has been a passion of mine for a long time, and I’ve accumulated a lot of artifacts.”
Porter became interested in World War I in the fifth grade when his teacher introduced the class to a book titled “The Story of World War I.”
“He fell in love with it. He couldn’t put the book down,” said his mother, Krystal Porter. “It just started from there. He started buying things on Ebay.”
Porter owns two U.S. Navy uniforms, which is where he got the hats.
He also owns medals, helmets and other items.
“It’s a unique war that he likes,” Krystal Porter said. “Not too many people know a lot about it because everyone always talks about World War II. But if you ask him anything about World War I, he’ll tell you about it.”
Krystal Porter said her son also knows the value of his items, which she said many people do not. She anticipates that value increasing as World War I approaches its 100th anniversary.
Porter also placed second in “boy scout items” and “Texas items.” He entered those categories under his dad’s name.
“This is the most ribbons I’ve ever gotten,” Porter said. “Going to the state fair is a family tradition. I’ve just always enjoyed going and competing.”