For Immediate Release
June 23, 2014
Contact: Rebecca Taber-Conover
860-522-6766, ext. 11
College Park, MD – Fifty-nine middle and high school students had the experience of a lifetime as they represented Connecticut at the prestigious National History Day Contest, which took place at the University of Maryland in College Park from June 15 to June 19. The Connecticut students competed against more than 2,900 students from across the country. They presented projects-exhibits, documentaries, papers, websites and performances -that showcased months of historical research and hard work to teams of judges. During the week, students met fellow competitors, toured Washington, D.C., met U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and participated in a variety of fun, educational activities. The amazing experience culminated with a three-hour Awards Ceremony on June 19, which was live streamed on the History Channel’s website, History.com. You can view pictures of the delegation’s trip to National History Day on the History Day in Connecticut Facebook page.
There were several Connecticut winners, they are listed below. You can view a list of all winners here.
- Nicholas Serrambana, a student at Classical Magnet School in Hartford, won Third Place (in the nation) in the Senior Individual Performance category for his project, Hanging Satan: The Eradication of Connecticut’s Witch-Craze.
- Five students from Pequot Home School in Southport won Second Place (in the nation) in Senior Group Performance for their project, The Farm Security Administration Photography Project: Human Rights and Government Responsibility through an Altered Lens. The students are: Isabella Altherr, Annabel Barry, Pierce Barry, Quinn Barry and Jaden Esse.
- Samuel Porcello won the prize for Outstanding Entry tied to a Historic Site with his exhibit, A Tale of Two Floods: How Johnstown Elevated Individual Rights and America’s Flood Responsibility. He is a student at Conard High School in West Hartford. During the National Contest, Sam met with one of the flood survivors whom he had previously interviewed over the phone.
- Jonas Burkhard and Tim Nolan were awarded the Senior Prize for a Connecticut Project with their documentary, Neutrality? Bombs, Gold and Swiss Support of the South African Apartheid Regime. They are students from E.O. Smith High School in Storrs and, in fact, flew back from high school graduation in order to participate in the National Contest.
- Jasmine Su and Gabrielle Young won the Junior Prize for Outstanding Connecticut Entry with their exhibit, Japanese Internment During WWII: Connecticut Acts Responsibly to Restore Basic Rights of Japanese Americans. They are students at Memorial Middle School in Middlebury, CT.
Additionally, several Connecticut students were recognized as finalists, selected as a top fourteen project among over a hundred, at the National Contest:
- Abigail McMahon and Aje Watson from Praise, Power, and Prayer Christian School in Windsor were finalists in the Senior Group Performance category with their project Dodging the Draft: Rights and Responsibilities During the Vietnam War.
- Jack Higgins from Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden was selected as a finalist with his documentary, The Beman Triangle: A Community’s Struggle for Freedom. Jack received a special invitation to attend “Breakfast on the Hill” with members of Congress, an event sponsored by National Endowment for the Humanities. Jack spoke with legislators about his award-winning documentary which focused on a vibrant African-American community in Middletown, CT.
- Catherine Cranmer, Rebecca Coyne, and Lydia Russell from Mansfield Middle School in Storrs were selected as finalists in the Junior Group Website category with their project, Japanese American Internment: The Rights of the People vs. The Responsibility of the Government.
Connecticut’s National Contest participants had previously placed first or second at the Connecticut History Day State Contest, held on April 26, 2014 at Central Connecticut State University. “The quality of our students’ work is phenomenal,” stated Rebecca-Taber Conover, Head of Public Programs and History Day for Connecticut’s Old State House. “I am so proud of our Connecticut students.”
During the National Contest, students, teachers and parents participated in several special activities. The Connecticut Delegation visited the U.S. Supreme Court and enjoyed private tours of the National Gallery of Art and the U.S. Capitol. Students, Angela Yu and Maddy Fodor, from Staples High School in Westport, CT, exhibited their project, Prudence Crandall, as part of National History Day Night at the Museum of American History. Each NHD affiliate selects one project to be displayed at the special event; Maddy and Angela’s project represented Connecticut.
Over 4,000 middle and high school students participate in History Day in Connecticut, one of 56 affiliate programs of National History Day, a renowned, year-long, academic program. The road to National History Day (NHD) usually begins in Connecticut’s classrooms and home schools where students choose topics reflecting an annual NHD theme, conduct research and analysis and create an exhibit, performance, website, paper or documentary that shares their findings. Of these, over a thousand students competed in this year’s District Contests, with 400 of winners going on to the State Contest, which sends first and second-place winners on to Nationals.
All of this is made possible by a strong collaboration among many of Connecticut’s history organizations who work with dedicated educators to help students develop critical thinking skills and a passion for learning and sharing history. A shared goal is to encourage a life-long interest in Connecticut’s rich stories, archives, historic buildings and museum collections. The collaboration is led by Connecticut’s Old State House, funded by Connecticut Humanities, and supported by the Connecticut League of History Organizations, the Connecticut Historical Society, Central Connecticut State University and scores of historical societies and civic groups who provide special prizes at the state level.
You can learn more about History Day in Connecticut by visiting its website at http://www.historydayct.org/or becoming a fan of the organization on Facebook.