Ten Greenwich High School Students Among CT History Day Contest Winners

The Connecticut History Day Committee recently announced the 2020 Fairfield Regional contest results, and among the winners were 10 Greenwich High School students, representing seven different project winners.

Connecticut History Day is a program for students in grades 6-12 that encourages exploration of local, state, national, and world history.

After selecting a historical topic that relates to an annual theme, students conduct extensive research using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. Students analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topic’s significance in history, and create final projects that demonstrate their work. These projects can be entered into a series of competitions, from the local to the national level, where professional historians and educators evaluate them. Connecticut History Day is one of 58 affiliate programs of the highly regarded National History Day program.”

“We are so proud of these students. These are challenging times right now, but these students submitted work despite distance learning constraints, and to see their hard work recognized and honored is much welcomed good news,” said GHS Social Studies and Innovation Lab teacher Kathleen Mendez.

Fellow Social Studies and Innovation Lab teacher Michael Belanger said, “Once again, students in Innovation Lab have risen to the occasion and created original, intellectual, and inspiring work in their pursuit of making history real and relevant. Combing archives for primary sources, interviewing experts in the field, and formulating compelling historical arguments with urgent messages for the present, these students have truly exemplified the Innovation Lab motto, ‘Deep learning in and for the real world.’ We could not be prouder of their accomplishments.”

“Working with such intellectually curious, driven and motivated young people is an absolute pleasure,” said Jessica Keller, an Advanced Placement US History teacher at GHS, adding, “It is incredible to see a project vision come to fruition with students as the creative designers and drivers of their research.”

Keller said the students conducted interviews both digitally, at Greenwich High School, and in person at Yale College. They also spent dozens of hours doing archival research and filming.

“These students did an incredible job bringing the stories of women at Yale to life from 1969 through the present,” Keller added.

“I’m so proud of Dani and Sophie, Junior members of the We The People team, and Bryn Kummell, Honors American History student, for seeing the process through despite the challenges of Distance Learning,” said Aaron Hull, We The People: The Citizen and The Constitution coach.

“Dani constructed her exhibit at home, despite the challenges that presented; Bryn and Sophie created and edited their Group Performances digitally, while remaining separated. One judge commented, ‘Your performance was riveting—it was very well done as a film piece . . . The voice over monologues were beautifully realized—great interpretation, vocal dynamics, and articulation and it was fascinating to watch the well-costumed characters writing as we heard their voices.’ I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Greenwich High School Winners

Category: Senior Individual Website
First Place:
Alan Gunzburg and The Curb Cut Effect: How small changes transform a community School:
Greenwich High School
Student: Madison Tessar (Sophomore, InLab)

Category: Senior Group Exhibit
First Place: Ignorance ≠ Advancement: How Scientific Breakthrough During the AIDS Crisis
Cured America’s Prejudice
School: Greenwich High School
Students: Richa Vaid and Carolina Ferrer (Sophomores, InLab)

Category: Senior Individual Exhibit
Second Place: Barbies: Breaking Barriers in Diversity and Body Image
School: Greenwich High School
Student: Demetria DeMakes (Sophomore, InLab)
Third Place: HeLa Cells: Breaking Barriers in History
School: Greenwich High School
Student: Danielle Spitz (Junior, We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution Team)

Category: Senior Group Performance
First Place: Women’s Rights in Nigeria School: Greenwich High School Students: Bryn Kummell (Sophomore, Honors American History) and Sophie Chaves (Junior, We The People:
The Citizen and the Constitution Team

Category: Senior Individual Performance
Second Place: Marie Curie’s Legacy of Broken Barriers
School: Greenwich High School
Student: Veronica Paez-Deggeller (Junior, InLab)

Category: Senior Group Documentary
Second Place: Breaking Barriers: The Women of Yale
School: Greenwich High School
Students: Sophie Jaeger and Veda Swaminathan (Sophomores, AP USg History)

Innovation Lab is a rigorous, interdisciplinary, school-within-a-school model at Greenwich High School. This progressive and personalized model is designed and implemented by a dedicated team of GHS educators who are leveraging innovative teaching methods, project-based and blended learning strategies, and leading-edge technology applications, all within the larger infrastructure of GHS.

Innovation Lab is devoted to fostering creativity, curiosity, and purpose within an interdisciplinary and academically rigorous, college preparatory curriculum. Teachers blend core disciplines to create STEM and Humanities in a project-based approach. Students develop the skills and content knowledge they require by connecting to questions and topics of interest. With guidance, they discover their passions and impact the community at large. Students in ninth, tenth and eleventh grades are eligible for this program. Research and development of GHS Innovation Lab is supported by a generous grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education.

At GHS, the Advanced Placement United States History course is the equivalent of a college course in a high school setting. Consequently, the texts, readings and pacing simulate that of a college class. We utilize lecture, Socratic seminar, and inquiry-based research to examine and learn American history from its inception to the present day. Students read and evaluate primary sources daily in order to develop their own writing and analysis skills as a student of history. Students taking the
course also take the corresponding Advanced Placement exam in May with the opportunity to earn college credit for their enrollment in this class.

We The People is a section of Advanced Placement United States Government and Advanced Placement Comparative Politics rostered to compete in the We The People Simulated Congressional Hearing Competition, conducted each year by the Center for Civic Education.

The program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. The We the People curriculum is an innovative course of instruction on the history and principles of the United States constitutional democratic republic.
The program enjoys active support from state bar associations and foundations, and other educational, professional, business, and community organizations across the nation. Since its inception in 1987, more than 30 million students and 75,000 educators have participated in the We the People program. This year, the team from Greenwich High School coached by Aaron Hull will represent Connecticut as Wild Card for the virtual National Championship Challenge, April 25-26.