Massachusetts Students Win Awards at National History Day

Massachusetts sent 70 students from across the Commonwealth to compete at National History Day in College Park, Maryland. Congratulations to those who came home with awards and notable mentions as well as to everyone who participated in the program this year.

The Massachusetts Historical Society, the state sponsor for Massachusetts History Day, the state affiliate of National History Day, is pleased to announce a number of award-winning students and projects from the national competition that took place on June 9-13, at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. National History Day is a yearlong interdisciplinary program focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression for students in grades 6 through 12. Students conduct primary- and secondary-source research on a historical topic of their choosing and present their work through a documentary film, website, performance, paper, or exhibit. Students compete at local, regional, state, and national levels with the opportunity to win prizes and recognition for themselves and their school.

More than 5,900 students throughout the Commonwealth participated in the program this academic year. Nearly 800 students competed at 4 regional competitions, and 333 students presented their projects at the state competition on April 6, at Winchester High School. The 70 students who received first and second place awards at the state competition qualified to advance to the national competition in June.

Massachusetts students finished strong at the national competition bringing home several awards for their projects. Maggie Eid of Winchester High School won second place for her senior individual website, “Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: The Tragedy that Struck Alaska.” A senior group exhibit, “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” created by Addy Flanagan, Madeleine Rostad, and Rosie Safford of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School won third place. Nora Sullivan Horner, also of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, won third place for her senior individual website, “We Have Dared to be Free: The Forgotten Haitian Revolution.”

A number of Massachusetts students received accolades for their projects at the national competition. John Pagliarulo of Stoneham High School and Audrey Haberlin and Abigail Lee of Dr. Philip O. Coakley Middle School were named outstanding entries for Massachusetts. The senior group documentary created by Charlene Fibbe, Chloe Ting, and Grant Landon of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and the senior individual exhibit by John Pagliarulo of Stoneham High School were ranked within the top 10 for their respective categories. A number of Massachusetts projects received distinction as well. Logan Roberts of Catholic Memorial School, West Roxbury, displayed his exhibit “Harlem Hellfighters: Triumph on the Battlefield, Tragedy on the Homefront” at the National Museum of American History. Aminata Konneh, Sofiyat Bello, and Stephanie Amanze of Plouffe Academy, Brockton, visited Massachusetts representatives as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities Day on the Hill. Avantika Naik of Mansfield High School; Charlene Fibbe, Chloe Ting, and Grant Landon of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School; and Molly Ferland, Emily Chen, Keily Santiago, and Ariana Escamilla of Hanscom Middle School all showcased their documentaries at the National Museum for African American History and Culture’s Oprah Winfrey Theater.

“It was exhilarating to watch these students in action,” commented Elyssa Tardif, Director of Education at the Massachusetts Historical Society. She described the week-long competition as inspiring saying, “it is amazing to witness firsthand the culmination of 9 months of in-depth primary-source research. They’ve honed not only their research skills but also their critical-thinking and writing skills. The National History Day program truly provides students with the tools they need to succeed in college and as active citizens in their community: these students are all champions!”

We are grateful for the support of our partners, The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mass Humanities,* and Mass Cultural Council.

*This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and the informed citizenry. We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.