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Sacred Hearts students qualify for National History Day contest

By Staff | May 17, 2012

Pictured at Hawaii History Day are (from left) Katie Slear, Natalie Kent, Kieran Clark, David Coulombe (front), Carter Stockham, Brandon Barreno, Jamie Advincula, teacher Patty Wurst and Joshua Schwartzlow. Kamryn Perry was also on the team.

LAHAINA – Nine students from Sacred Hearts School recently competed at Hawaii History Day at Windward Community College, with entries by two students advancing to the nationwide competition.

Sacred Hearts’ eight projects were entered into the Junior Division.

History Day is a national program that encourages students to research historic topics of their choice that fit into an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.”

The Lahaina students qualified for the state level contest by earning top results at the Maui competition.

Teacher Patty Wurst explained that at History Day, students are interviewed. The judges submit feedback to the students through the forms they submit.

These forms and suggestions are used by students as they continue on their History Day journey, as there are suggestions for improvement or questions for the students to ponder.

At the state event, eighth-graders Joshua Schwartzlow and Kieran Clark qualified for the National History Day contest at the University of Maryland at College Park on June 10-14.

Schwartzlow created a website entitled “The Kapu System: The Abolition that Westernized Hawaii.” His project also won an award from the Hawaii Heritage Center for his outstanding project in local or ethnic history.

This will be his second trip to National History Day.

“When you participate at the state level, you feel a high level of anxiety waiting for your interview, and then when you finally get into the interview room and the interviewer asks you questions, you realize that you were prepared… you knew everything and that you didn’t need to worry about it,” Schwartzlow said.

“I like the competitive aspect of History Day, because it drives me to continue to improve my project. When it got to the closing ceremony, I was anxious and nervous, because I wanted to qualify to go to nationals. And then you finally get this feeling of pleasure and jubilation when they call your name, and you realize that you have been successful in your goal.”

To prepare for nationals, he will capitalize on advice from the judges, his teacher and parents.

Clark was honored for his documentary entitled “The Irish Revolution.”

Kieran said, “Participating at the state level is much more competitive, because there are more schools involved, and students are getting better at producing good projects.

“I think competing at nationals will be a good experience, because I will see what students around the world do for projects, which is a much larger sample of student work than our small community. To prepare for nationals, I am going to redo my interviews and add more film clips from the early 20th century.”

Sacred Hearts School eighth-grader Jamie Advincula’s essay entitled “The New Girl: Flappers in the 1920s” came in third place.

Advincula said the event “was a mixture of anxiety and anticipation and fun. It’s a new approach to learning and interpreting history.”

Seventh-grader Katie Slear came in third place with her website, “The Weather Satellite: A Revolution in the Sciences.”

Sixth-graders Carter Stockham and David Coulombe received the Alexander and Baldwin Foundation Award for their performance called “The John Deere Tractor: Friend of the Farmer.”

Coulombe and Stockham are inspired to improve on their performance next year.

“It makes me want to learn history more, so I can do a better project and incorporate more skills. I really want to go to the national competition next year,”Coulombe said.

Stockham explained, “I never thought learning and fun could be in the same place or activity. I have always liked history, but now it can be fun, and I can win money and travel because of it.”

Additional projects entered in the state level contest were: Natalie Kent, seventh grade, for her website called “Can You Imagine? The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938”; Kamryn Perry, seventh grade, for her research paper called “For Better or Worse: Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin”; and Brandon Barreno, sixth grade, for his exhibit called “Amazing Dots.”

“There are a lot of different topics to learn from that are so interesting. It was an exciting experience,” Barreno said.

The families of the students are paying for their children’s travel and participation at National History Day.

If anyone would like to help sponsor these student historians, send donations to Sacred Hearts School, attention History Day Program.