Students Compete at National History Day Competition at U.S. Capital
Two groups of boys traveled to Washington, D.C. to show off their knowledge and creative presentation of historical events.
Patch Whiz Kids of the Week: The seventh grade boys who placed fifth in the nationwide History Day competition: Andre Dangi, Nickolas Eliadis and Navdeep Maini, all 13. And the eighth grade boys who created made it to nationals for their website about the Cuban Missile Crisis: Ryan Nolan, Rafael Lima, Stephen Savoy and John Iacovino, all 14.
School: John F. Kennedy Elementary School
How they got to compete in Washington D.C.:
The seventh grade performers
The team of three researched Boston’s history of busing black and white students to its public schools. Andre admired the city’s goal of integrating students as per the Supreme Court mandate but concluded that the city went about it the wrong way. His teammate Nick agreed.
“Moving students around didn’t make them get an equal education,” Nick said.
Andre jumped in.
“It was a waste of money,” he said. “Schools spent $70 million a year busing students that they could have spent on supplies and renovations.”
The boys spent numerous hours after school researching the topic before coming to those conclusions. They also memorized a 10-minute scene set in a coffee house in which they discussed busing from the perspective of a retired teacher, student and parent who were all affected by the mandate.
The team said that their teachers, Jennifer Sears and Christine Colangelo, coached them well in acting and that they couldn’t have come out on top without them.
In addition to placing fifth in the nation in the “junior group performance” category, the boys placed first in the regional competition and second in the state one.
The eighth grade techies
The team of four figured out web page design to display their understanding of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The website includes a summary, timeline and analysis of the 13-day-long event, photos, video and a song by Bob Dylan.
Ryan said they featured “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” on the home page to represent the anxiety that Dylan and other Americans felt as they wondered if the Soviet Union would attack the U.S. with missiles it had harbored in Cuba.
The site won them first place in the “junior group websites” category at the regional competition and second place at the state one.
Ryan said researching the enlightened him about diplomacy within the Kennedy administration.
“When we were younger,” he said, “people would call Kennedy the best president, and I didn’t know if it was because he was from Massachusetts. But how to handled the Cuban Middle Crisis showed me that he was one of the best.”