Several North Country students won recognition at New York State History Day, held in Cooperstown, New York, on Monday, April 18. Grace Sayward, a homeschool student from the Plattsburgh area, placed second in the Junior Historical Paper category. Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred, from Moriah Central School, placed third in the Senior Group Exhibit category. Ben Caito and Liam Sayward, homeschool students from the Plattsburgh area, were awarded a special prize from the New York State Historical Association.
Over 450 students from across the state participated at New York State History Day, part of the National History Day program that begins with regional contests around the state. North Country History Day includes students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties and is held at Fort Ticonderoga each March. Winners at the regional level advance to compete in Cooperstown. Winners at the state level advance to National History Day held in College Park, Maryland, each June.
Grace Sayward competed in the Junior Historical Paper category with her entry on “Marjorie Lansing Porter.” She placed second and qualifies to represent New York State at National History Day, to be held June 12-16, 2016, in College Park, Maryland.
Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred competed in the Senior Group Exhibit category with their entry on “The Bracero Program.” They placed third and are designated alternates. Should either the first or second place entries be unable to advance to the national contest, they would represent New York State at National History Day in June. Their entry also won the New York State Archives special prize for the best use of primary sources at North Country History Day held in March at Fort Ticonderoga.
Ben Caito and Liam Sayward competed in the Senior Group Documentary category with their entry “Verplank Colvin: An Exchange of Ideas.” They won the New York State Historical Association Award for an outstanding entry exploring New York State History.
Students from Gouverneur Central School, Moriah Central School, Peru Junior Senior High School, and St. Mary’s School (Ticonderoga) also represented the region at New York State History Day on April 18.
Fort Ticonderoga sponsored a state-wide award at this year’s New York State History Day. The Fort Ticonderoga Colonial History Award went to Ewan Todt-Tutchener from Ithaca High School. His Senior Historical Paper on “To Please the Indians: Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange on the Canadian Frontier” was recognized as an outstanding entry related to Colonial or Revolutionary history.
National History Day is the nation’s leading program for history education in schools. The program annually engages 2 million people in 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Guam. Students research history topics of their choice related to an annual theme and create exhibits, documentaries, performances, research papers, and website designs. They may enter in competition at the regional, state, and national level. Participants include students in grades 6-8 in the Junior Division and grades 9-12 in the Senior Division. National History Day also provides educational services to students and teachers, including a summer internship program, curricular materials, internet resources, and annual teacher workshops and training institutes. Fort Ticonderoga hosts teacher workshops about History Day each fall in the North Country and Regional Coordinator Rich Strum is available to meet with teachers at their schools to introduce the program. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, “Students who participate in National History Day—actually a year-long program that gets students in grades 6-12 doing historical research—consistently outperform their peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well.”
Teachers and students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties interested in participating in North Country History Day during the 2016-17 school year should contact Rich Strum, North Country Regional Coordinator for New York State History Day, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (518) 585-6370.