DURHAM — Five Oyster River High School students will represent New Hampshire in a national history competition this month.
National History Day is a nonprofit educational organization that offers programming to encourage students to engage in history projects, and hosts a national competition annually for students that succeed in local and statewide competitions. Students can submit a variety of projects to the competitions, including research papers, documentaries, websites, exhibits and performances. This year’s theme is “Breaking Barriers”.
“I’m incredibly proud of all of the students who will be competing and the incredible work they did on their projects,” said Oyster River High School Principal Suzanne Filippone. “They created films, exhibits and performances that are thoughtfully researched, and engage and educate viewers and this honor is well deserved for all of them.”
Sophomores Sabrina Gullo, of Madbury, Ella Daniels, of Durham, and Isabella Xu Kalinowski, of Durham, will compete in the Senior Group Documentary Category for their documentary on American microbiologist Maurice Hilleman, who helped create over 40 vaccines, including the Polio vaccine. To view the documentary, click here.
Sophomore Laura Slama, of Durham, will compete in the Senior Individual Exhibit Category for her project, Revolutionary Reforms from the Pen of Upton Sinclair. She created a tri-fold exhibit about Sinclair’s work and the societal changes his work created. To view her work, click here.
Sophomore Addison Hoppe, of Madbury, will compete in the Senior Individual Performance Category for her project, “They Lost That Wounded Look…The Stonewall Riots” surrounding the history of the event. To view her performance, click here.
Students began working on their projects late last year and were chosen as the winners at the school level competition in late January. From there, the five went on to compete in the state level of the competition in April, where Gullo, Daniels, Kalinowski and Slama came in fist place in their categories, and Hoppe came in second place for her category.
ORHS Library Media Specialist Kathy Pearce played a large role in helping the students submit their entries to the competition.
“These projects are all fantastic and extremely well done,” said social studies teacher Derek Cangello. “It’s a testament to the great work our students are able to do, and how they are able to analyze and compile their research into a meaningful finished product. I’m immensely grateful for the help Kathy provided the students in readying their projects for the National History Day Contest. I can’t wait to see how they all do in the competition.”
“National History Day is an exciting program involving deep research for an authentic audience,” Pearce said. “I learn something new each year as students select obscure topics or delve into a little-known aspect of a more common topic. Each student is able to find a topic suited to his or her interests, which allows them to take strong ownership in their work.”
All contest entries were made available for viewing on Sunday, June 14 and can be found here.
The award ceremony will be live streamed on Saturday, June 20 from 3-5 p.m. First place winners will earn a prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and earn a NEH Scholar designation.
Finalists will also be eligible to win special prizes for their work to recognize and reward exceptional projects that explore specific areas of history. Throughout the week, students and teachers will be able to attend different workshops and webinars on historical events as well.
Three Oyster River High School students competed in last year’s competition, each placing in their respective categories and earning special recognition. Three of these students — juniors Aaron Hoag of Lee, Ella Stasko of Durham, and Sofia Testa of Barrington — met virtually with this year’s contestants to help them prepare their projects for the national competition.
“For the last few years, Oyster River High School students have done exceptional work and earned well-deserved recognition during the National History Day competitions,” said Superintendent James Morse. “I’m blown away by the thoroughness and quality of these projects, and congratulate them on all their hard work. I wish each of them the best next weekend and look forward to seeing how they do.”