Bronxville Union Free School District

High School Students Make History at State Competition

Four Bronxville High School freshmen and one sophomore, who conducted extensive historical research over several months, had outstanding performances at the New York State National History Day Competition, held in Cooperstown, New York, from April 23-24.

Sophomore Kevin Leka, who participated in the individual website category, placed third and became the first Bronxville High School student to earn a medal at the state competition. Freshmen Charles Bogatyrenko, Logan Glick, Christopher Hutchins and Eco Valdes also competed at the state competition in the group documentary category. Leka had previously placed second at the regional competition, held in March, with his website, titled “Sami Repishti: Fighter of the Anti-Communist Resistance,” while Bogatyrenko, Glick, Hutchins and Valdes took first place with their documentary, titled “Fighting the Soldiers of Greed.”

“The level of hard work, motivation and diligence they had to put into their projects is exemplary,” social studies teacher Dana Landesman said. “We’re really proud of all their efforts and for representing Bronxville well.”

The students’ authentic work focused on this year’s National History Day theme of “Taking a Stand” and was displayed in one of five ways – paper, website, documentary, performance or exhibit. As part of their research, which allowed them to further explore their interest in a specific topic, they contacted experts in the field, analyzed the evidence and data they collected and developed theses that addressed the theme. At the competition, they were interviewed by professors and scholars and articulated what they’ve discovered through their historical research.

“The experience was very rewarding,” said Leka, whose project focused on the Albanian communist era and the people who took a stand against it. “Some people have a perspective that it’s just another project – and it will be another project if you pick a topic that’s not interesting to you.”

Leka, who speaks fluent Albanian and translated into English many of the documents he researched for his project, said he was passionate about the topic because his own family lived through the communist era in Albania.

“Although it happened very recently, from the 1940-90s, it’s very unheard of and it deserved attention,” said Leka, who designed the website on his own from start to finish. “The regime was very strict. I used National History Day and the website as a great platform to bring attention to the topic.”

For more information, visit his website by clicking here.

  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image