Bronxville High School sophomores – TJ Curran, Ben Davis, Earl Gretzinger, George McCormick and Connor Randall – won second place in the group website category at the 2019 National History Day competition for New York State, held on April 29 in Cooperstown. As a result of their performance, they have advanced to compete in the national competition, which will take place on June 9-13 at the University of Maryland.
The five students had been conducting extensive historical research for several months before completing their website, which takes viewers through the triumphs and tragedies of the reign of Menelik II of Ethiopia. Their authentic work focused on this year’s National History Day theme of “Triumph and Tragedy in History.”
“NHD allows for students to do the work of historians,” said teacher Dana Landesman, who oversees the program with Christina Reidel. “I am so proud of what they accomplished, and I know they will represent Bronxville well at the national competition.”
Sophomore Amir Yaghoobi also had an outstanding performance and earned third place in the individual exhibit category.
To prepare for the competition, the students worked with renowned performance coach Karen DeMauro, who provided them with individualized strategies and targeted feedback to help enhance their presentation skills. Her visit was generously funded by the Bronxville School Foundation.
Members of the mentoring team – who consisted of juniors Charlotte Dotson, Sabrina Mellinghoff, Emily Perry, Sophia Riccarini and Grace Sperber, who won first place at the national competition last year; as well as Michael Burstein, Chris Hutchinson, Caitlin Mooney and Sara Whitney, who came in fourth at the state competition last year – also assisted the students in preparing for the competition.
“They worked with individual groups throughout the process to help with research, annotations, how to conduct interviews, practice of interviewing skills for regional and states, and feedback on projects,” Landesman said. “Every group who went to the regional and state competitions took advantage of their expertise.”
At the national competition, the students will compete against winners from all 50 states and U.S. territories.