The auditorium lobby of was filled with history on Wednesday morning as juniors presented their National History Day projects with a focus on debate and diplomacy. More than 60 projects were presented to a series of judges who evaluated the students' work based on historical accuracy, use of analysis and interpretation, extent of research, conclusions, clarity and more.
Students were allowed to choose their own topics, but were offered a suggested list of topics. Presentations covered a spectrum of historical events and themes, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion, immigration, Prohibition, women’s rights, Brown vs. Board of Education, Jackie Robinson, obesity in America, Pearl Harbor, the Constitutional Convention, Title IX and the Vietnam War protests.
Students were required to create a poster within a size limit of 40” x 30” x 72”, while limiting media devices to a three-minute time period. The presentations could not exceeding a 500-word limit and had to include an annotated bibliography.
Several studentstalked about why they chose their topic and what they learned while putting their projects together.
- Tynisha Valencia chose to do her project on The Dawes Act of 1887 because she is Native American and wanted to learn more about her history. She said she was shocked to learn how the westerners relegated the Native Americans to reservations in desert areas where it was hard for them to survive.
- Taylor Clinton and Grace Janes did a project on The Establishment of the Peace Corps. They built a large tower complete with display case and inset television playing a video they created. Clinton said what surprised her most about her project was learning that many people in the Peace Corps become homesick for the country in which they served after returning home after five years of being away. While she hadn’t previously considered joining the Peace Corps, Clinton says, “After doing this project, I’m actually thinking about it. It would be a really cool experience.”
- Jasmine Valdes, Cody Platt, and Carlos Valdes did their project on Title IX which provided equality to women in sports. Each member of the trio is interested in sports and said they believe it is important that their peers all have an equal chance to play. They were surprised to find that there had been a woman drafted into the NBA decades ago and that she could easily hold her own with the men in the league. They said they took away from the project that no one should be judged on their playing ability until their skills are actually tested.
- Christina Monteiro was drawn to her project on Roger Williams because of his adventurous side. “I like how he made his own decision on what he wanted and went from a different state to Rhode Island," Monteiro said. She said she wants to take her own adventure some day and leave Newport for a while. She also said she found it interesting that his allegiance was to the natives and not his own people.
- Gerber Joel Lopez, who moved to the U.S. from Guatemala three years ago, said he chose the Mexican War because he wanted to do his project on something related to Latin America. Lopez said he was surprised to learn about the amount of land that the U.S. claimed in the war.
Here's a list of the winning presentations. Winning entries compete at the Rhode Island National History Day Fair at Providence College on April 30th. State winners compete in the Nationals at the University of Maryland in June.
Individual Documentary: Wertson Furtado, The Atomic Bomb
Group Documentary: Rebeka Alencar, Jordan Martin, Callie Griffiths, Dorothea Dix
Group Website: Tiphanie Fuentes, Kathleen McKay, Treaty of Kanagawa
- First Place: Michael O’Connell, Brown vs. Board of Education,
- Second Place: Alex Bronk, Treaty of Alliance with France 1778
- First Place: Missy Mellekas and Mary Murphy Walsh, Brown v. Board of Education
- Second Place: Grace Janes, Taylor Clinton, The Peace Corps
- Third Place: Colin Chase, Michael Finn, Andrew McCarthy, Operation Homecoming: POW’s
- First Place: Victoria Mendez, US Naval Power in WWII
- Second Place: Yoni Corleto, The Camp David Accords
- Third Place: Ashley Wilson, The Treaty of Fort Laramie
RHS History Department Awards:
- Molly Gomes, Mikaela Margolis, Women in the Workforce
- Micayla Circosta, Hanna Horan, and Ivana Humphrey: Rock-n-Roll and its Effects on Adolescents
- NHD Theme Award: Nifaty Morales, James Strom, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois