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History reborn: NHD earns accolades, popularity

Some students view history as a menial graduation requirement.  The subject can be a bore for students who prefer to be swamped in sciences, musing through mathematics, and lingering in the realm of language arts.  For the National History Day club, however, history is both an addiction and a platform to create with events of the past.

Every year, the National History Day club prepares projects based on specific historical concepts.  Students work to produce projects such as exhibits, websites, or documentaries, basing their creations on unique historical events.  These projects are evaluated at the regional competition, and the best move on to the state and national rounds.  This year, four teams qualified for the national competition, which is scheduled for the middle of June.  “The national competition truly is an educational experience, and our four groups are eager to expand on their projects, continuing to grow as historians and thinkers,” said junior and club president Sundar Solai.

Arguably the catalyst for this year’s success, new advisor Chris Bond has aided the club tremendously.  “Mr. Bond is a dedicated advisor, allowing infrastructure to hold organized meetings,” Solai said.  “More importantly, his great thinking skills have helped us synthesize information throughout the process.”.  Previously, Dr. Joan Ruddiman—who was recently nominated for the National History Channel Educator of the Year award— served as a de facto advisor,and she continues to assist North NHD both as a club and with student projects.

Another indication of the club’s growth is the devoted interest of underclassmen:  Two of the four groups slated for nationals are underclassmen groups. “There is something that is just so rewarding about going up on stage and showing off the work that took you a full year to discover and prove,” sophomore Sara Gostomski said.  “I know there are going to be some very talented and intelligent people at the national level, but even just getting the chance to be among them is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that I am very fortunate to partake in.”  Gostomski’s group performance, “Hypocrisy or Democracy: Japanese Internment during World War,”  will accompany the website “Proprietary Rights vs. Governmental Responsibilities: The Displacement in Shenandoah National Park” as the two representatives for their respective categories.

Overall, the National History Day club has experienced a purple patch of success in the 2014 school year.  The students have taken their passion for history to new heights, evidenced by extravagant projects that combine sources from past and present.  “NHD is not about regurgitating information, it’s a means of conducting thorough research and gaining analytical thinking skills,” said sophomores Ronald Wang and Roger Jin.  Secretary and senior Vishnu Kaimal added, “An NHD project is not simply another history lesson, but a platform by which students can learn valuable research skills and express their findings and conclusions in a meaningful manner.”

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