Hewlett High School seniors and twin siblings Rachel and Jonathan Miller were part of a panel at the American Historical Association’s 134th annual meeting Jan. 5 at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. The Millers are multiple History Day contest winners at the state and national levels in the past six years.
Also on the panel were Dr. Christine Abajian, the Hewlett High National History Day adviser, Susan Glaser National History Day training coordinator and Maeve Montalvo, the acting director of the Museum of the City of New York in the Bronx.
The 90-minute panel discussion entitled, “Why the National History Day Program Creates a Framework for Historical Research, Analysis, and Literacy Fostering Project-Based Learning,” focused on the benefits of incorporating the National History Day program in secondary schools, and also showcased the research and projects of past participants from New York.
National History Day’s goal is to enliven and enhance students’ passion for history and build the needed skills to create and understand the significance of key historical issues. The program aims to fully involve and guide students in the process of relevant research based on creating complex fact-based claims.
A student-centered mission is the aim of the educators committed to the program. The goal is to enable students to master research, synthesis and presentation.
National History Day is a year-long educational program that encourages students to explore local, state, national and world history. After choosing a historical topic that relates to an annual theme, middle and high school students conduct extensive research using libraries, archives, museums and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions on their topics’ significance in history, and present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries.
The finished projects are submitted to spring competitions on all three levels and judged by professional historians and educators. In June the national contest is held at the University of Maryland in College Park.