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Students from the Los Alamos Public Schools won eleven awards at the recent statewide National History Day contest, and eight of those students are going to the national contest in the nation’s capital next month.
The state winning students are:
• Sophomores Kimberly Pestovich, Yamira Dejesus, and Kaylen Pocaterra, for their senior group exhibit on “Building the Railroad: A Vehicle to Opportunity and Success”
• Senior Emily McClenahan, with her senior individual documentary, “Dress Rehearsal For Hell: The Meridian Campaign, a Turning Point in History and Modern Warfare”
• Seventh graders Ruby Selvage and Kathryn McClenahan, in junior group performance for “Atomic Age Act II: The Russian Atomic Bomb”
• Sophomore Anne Scripsick, with her senior individual exhibit on “Fighting The Speckled Monster” about the small pox vaccine
• Seventh grader Miriam Wallstrom, in junior individual website for her project, “The 13th Amendment: Free At Last”
The students will travel to the University of Maryland and compete against students from around the country this month at the national NHD contest.
NHD is a highly regarded academic program for elementary and secondary school students. Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in NHD.
Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites.
The theme this year is: Turning Points in History.
After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state, and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators.
The program culminates in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.
In addition to discovering the exciting world of the past, NHD also helps students develop the following attributes that are critical for future success:
• critical thinking and problemsolving skills
• research and reading skills
• oral and written communication and presentation skills
• self esteem and confidence
• a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process
In all, 19 Los Alamos students with 15 projects competed at the state competition in Albuquerque on April 26. Other statewide awards to Los Alamos students included:
• State Historian’s Award for best use of a New Mexico Archive, Emily McClenahan
• Best use of primary medical sources, Anna Scripsick
• Best project on Western History, Justin Lemke for his junior individual performance about the gold rush
• Best use of primary Native American sources, Sophia Sivils for her project on the Cherokee Trail of Tears
• Third place, junior group website to Karyssa Garcia and Meghan Romero for “The Fight to Vote”
• Third place, junior individual performance to Anna Lemke for “Childhood Lost”
Another big winner was Caroline Haagenstad, a seventh grade social studies and language arts teacher at Los Alamos Middle School who won the prestigious Patricia Behring Teacher’s Award.
In New Mexico, NHD is sponsored by the New Mexico Humanities Council. Workshops are given around the state each autumn help teachers integrate National History Day activities into the curriculum.
For more information, contact the New Mexico Humanities Council at 633-7370, or firstname.lastname@example.org.