Stoenham, Mass.-- On Saturday, CM eighth graders Logan Roberts and James McGrath competed in the final round of the Massachusetts National History Day competition. Logan presented his project on the Harlem Hellfighters and James presented his on the creation of the state of Israel.
“Both boys did exceptionally well to get to this level and should be commended for all of their hard work and efforts. They delved into the history and analyzed the facts. Judges agreed that both boys were quite prepared for the interview and were very knowledgeable about their topics,” said Mrs. Barbara Flynn, a member of the social studies department who initiated CM’s participation in the event.
Sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society, Massachusetts History Day is the state affiliate of the National History Day (NHD) competition sponsored by the University of Maryland. More than 6,000 students in grades 6-12 enter the state competition. Students from the CM 8th grade History of Boston course complete a project as part of the coursework which they submit to the contest.
As part of the NHD competition, students select a topic related to the theme chosen by NHD. This year’s theme was Triumph and Tragedy. Both boys selected topics that they were aware of but wanted to delve more deeply into.
“I chose this topic because it is something we hear about on the news all the time. This is a heavily debated topic and I wanted to form an opinion on it that is accurate,” said James.
After choosing topics, students conduct research that includes primary source materials. After conducting their research, students draw conclusions about their topic’s place and significance in history. They present these findings through a research paper as well as a website, display, performance, or documentary.
“A big takeaway from NHD is learning about topics that some people might never have heard of. It is important for us to understand how history impacts us today,” said Logan.
After advancing through several rounds of competition, Logan and James competed in the Greater Boston regional competition held at Stoneham Middle School last month. Their performances granted them spots in Saturday’s statewide competition where they presented their work to a panel of judges alongside 10 other regional winners.
Logan Roberts won first place and advanced to the National History Day finals where he will represent the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The finals will be held in June at the University of Maryland – College Park.
"Logan's advancement to NHD's National Contest in Maryland demonstrates the caliber of student our middle school produces. Additionally, it reflects the efforts and skill of Mrs. Flynn, an accomplished veteran teacher who has created the History of Boston class and led project-based learning and authentic community-immersion experiences for our students for many years," said Mr. Vincent Bradley, Chair of the social studies department.
The NHD is an example of a larger initiative to make CM’s curriculum relevant, authentic, and interdisciplinary.
“The NHD project is a great example of the learning that occurs at CM. It is rigorous, real-world relevant, and involves a multifaceted assessment of student learning,” said Mr. Thomas Ryan, Vice Principal of Grades 7 & 8.