A group of Bronxville High School students – freshman Jack Evans and sophomores Rowan Baror, Mia Berkolayko, Olivia Cevasco, Zana Gjoni, Olesya Gorbunova, Avery Jones and Julia Narkaj – have advanced to compete at the national level of the 2020 National History Day (“NHD”) competition.
“Our students competed against the best ninth through 12th grade history students, from the best schools across New York State, and were awarded the top honor of competing nationally,” said teacher Christina Reidel, who co-facilitates the program along with fellow teacher Dana Landesman. “This is an extraordinary achievement. We are extremely proud of the way they represented themselves, the Bronxville School and the historical past.”
Over the last several months, the students have been conducting extensive historical research on a topic of their choice on this year’s NHD theme of “Breaking Barriers in History.” Students’ work is displayed in one of five ways – paper, website, documentary, performance or exhibit.
Evans will compete in the Individual Exhibit category with his project, “Martin Luther: The Original Whistleblower.” Cevasco and Baror will compete in the Group Documentary category with their project, “Mercury 13: Breaking Barriers for Female Astronauts at NASA.” Berkolayko, Gjoni, Gorbunova, Jones and Narkaj will compete in the Group Exhibit category with their project, “Let My People Go: The Refuseniks and Fighting for Their Freedom.”
“This is the largest cohort of students from the district to be selected for the national competition, and the first time we have had a ninth grade student move on to the national competition,” Reidel said.
To prepare for the nationals, the students have been meeting virtually with their history teachers and revising their research projects based on the judges’ feedback from the state competition. Similar to the regional and state competitions, the national competition will be held virtually. Students are required to submit their work by May 22 before they are judged by professors and scholars.
The Bronxville School Foundation has provided important support to help pave the way to this wonderful accomplishment. The Foundation funded the teachers’ attendance at the National Social Studies Conference, where they first learned about National History Day. In addition, the Foundation funded work with renowned performance coach Karen DeMauro who has given students individualized strategies and targeted feedback to help enhance their presentation skills.