This spring, the 34 class members of History Department faculty Sarah Horgan's CL US History course submitted entries to the virtual National History Day Contest, and we are proud to share that 10 students have been recognized for their great work in the Region III round.
The National History Day Contest was founded in Cleveland in 1974, and it is a project-based learning opportunity for history-minded students in grades 6-12, building college and career skills for the 21st century by making the past relevant to the present and future. Each Pioneer who entered into the competition this year is to be commended and congratulated for their efforts and time, each producing either a documentary, a website or a research paper in relation to this year's theme, Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.
This is the second year Reserve has participated in the competition.
"In a year 'like no other' with the pandemic and students in my CL US History classes who were working on this project having to switch to online learning just as we began this exercise, I didn't really know what to expect or whether we would be able to pull it all together and meet the contest deadline," shared Horgan. "But, all that said, my students were simply amazing and resilient throughout the term."
The class met online every day without fail, setting up individual conferences with Horgan and their library mentors and the technology department. As a part of their project, they contacted and interviewed experts on their topic to gain multiple perspectives on their subject matter (an assignment requirement) and conducted top level research.
"These projects would have been difficult to pull off in-person, let alone working from home as they were," said Horgan. " That in and of itself was reward enough for me. Their dedication and their striving for excellence despite the circumstances was impressive. I feel so grateful to be working with this caliber of young people. Winning awards at National History Day as well was just icing on the cake! I knew that we had submitted some terrific projects, but the competition is pretty stiff at this event. To sweep the research paper category and place well in both documentary film and website was quite remarkable. It's wonderful to see WRA students being recognized outside of our school community for their talents and hard work. I couldn't be more proud of this bunch."
In the category of Senior Individual Category Documentary Film, Omar White-Evans '22 earned second place for his documentary, "A Time to Break the Silence" and Kayla Jiang '22 placed third for her work, "The Creation on an Enemy." Gisa Karamaga '22 received an Honorable Mention for "The Effects of Assimilation."
In the category of Senior Individual Category Website, Natalie Ham '22 was named the first place winner for Communication During WWII - The Navajo Code Talkers and Their Forgotten Contribution. Kayla Luchette placed third for Satellites: The Path to Communication.
Isabella Folio '22 earned first place in the category of Senior Individual Category Research Paper for her work, "The Effects of The Crucible as a Medium to Communicate Anti-McCarthyism Ideals." Jimena Oliva '22 placed second for "Yiddish Means Mishpocheh" and Arthur Johnson '22 earned third place for "Examining Communication Through Diplomacy: How Kennedy and Khrushchev Deescalated the Cuban Missile Crisis and Led the World to a More Peaceful Future."
In the Special Prizes Category, Jakob Palfi '22 and Hannah Ma '22 were recognized in the Early Settlers Association Awards, which assessed projects that focus on historical events, people, or achievements from the geographical area that was originally part of Connecticut's Western Reserve in Ohio. Palfi's work "The Message Sent Worldwide in the 1936 Olympics by Jesse Owens" is the 2021 winner for all entered papers and Ma's work, Hudson's Role in Anti-Slavery and the Underground Railroad, is the 2021 winner in the category of website.
All entries into The Friends of the Maltz Museum Special Prize in Jewish History must focus on themes including Jewish culture, history, art, individuals, identity, or holidays. Projects addressing the Holocaust are also eligible. Congratulations to Oliva, who earned second place for her paper "Yiddish Means Mishpocheh: The Role of the Yiddish Language in the Survival of the Jewish Culture."
As category winners, Johnson, Folio, Oliva, Jiang, White-Evans, Luchette and Ham will advance to state levels in Columbus in April, and, should they qualify, to the national level in Washington, D.C., where the top prize winner receives a four-year scholarship to Case Western Reserve University. We look forward to cheering on our Pioneers from afar!