Paterson social studies students gearing up for state National History Day competition | Paterson Times

Paterson social studies students gearing up for state National History Day competition


After successfully competing at the regional National History Day competition at Seton Hall University in early March, 60 city social studies students are gearing up for Saturday’s state level competition at William Paterson University.

The 60 students are from School 7, International High School, John F. Kennedy High School, School 28, and Rosa Parks High School.

Students built their National History Day projects around the topic of Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History, this year’s theme for the competition. Tasmanian Genocide, Samuel Colt:  How Failure Leads to Success, Vikings:  Scourge of the North, The Crusades and How it Changed the World, The Industrial Revolution, Tesla vs. Edison:  Exploring the Great Current War, Mansa Musa – The Golden Age, and Apollo 13: A Successful Failure are some of the titles of the projects completed by the five dozen students.

Christopher Wirkmaa, the district’s National History Day advisor, said the competition promotes team work and encourage students to master their topics. “Not only did they learn a lot about their topics, they also learned how to maintain focus, work cooperatively and productively within a group, and demonstrate learning in an effective manner,” he said. “We are all very excited about the upcoming state competition, and then moving on to D.C. to compete with some of the best in the country.”

After competing with students from all over the Garden State in Wayne, the student researchers will move on to the National History Day Competition at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Students will compete at the University of Maryland from June 12th through 16th, 2016. Every year, as many as 3,000 students, their parents, teachers gather at the university for the week-long competition.

“Each year, I eagerly await the results of our students’ participation in National History Day. Besides the obvious academic refinements these students receive by their immersion into pure research, they also learn essential life skills and to work with one-another effectively,” said state-appointed district superintendent Donnie Evans. “These competitions are perfectly aligned with our mission to prepare each student for success in the college/university of their choosing and in their chosen career.”

Last year, Rosa Parks High School student Peter Echevarria made it to 10th spot in the individual performance category for his project, “Heard it Through the Grapevine: The Legacy of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union.”

Email: jay@patersontimes.com