By Zachary Thompson
9th Grade, NCSS
Each year nearly 3,000 students, their parents and teachers gather at the University of Maryland for a week long event that revolves around the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day (NHD) contest, which is the final stage in a multi affiliate level contest that has progressed over five months. Every year, NHD decides on a new theme which sets the tone and pace for that year’s product, and how they are created.
This year’s theme was Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange. From this, students are free to enter as an individual or a group. Once decided, students are free to choose any person, group, company, or era to study as their focus of research. There are five possible choices for what you can do as a product: exhibit, website, documentary, paper, or performance.
This year I chose to do my project on a famous, but not so well known Swiss scientist, explorer, and physicist named Auguste Piccard. After conducting preliminary background research I decided to create a website as it would best complement my skill at technology, along with providing a way and an option for me to put in photos and other multimedia that I found during my research.
All of this is easier said than done and by no means an overnight accomplishment. I spent over forty hours on my research and thirty hours creating my website. All of this time was definitely not devoid of its own trials and tribulations. Because Piccard did most of his work during a time where documentation and recordings were not as common as they are today, I had a significant struggle trying to find primary sources that were directly related to him.
In early February we held our local school competition. The local competition decided who would be moving on to regionals held at Lakeland Union High School on March 12. After learning that I would be moving on to regionals, along with making the changes that the judges suggested to me, the much anticipated day had arrived.
The day was a busy one, filled with great fun along with many beneficial lifelong learning opportunities that presented themselves to the competitors in many different ways–presenting to judges we didn’t know, thinking on the fly or seeing what students in other schools did. At the end of the day, three peers and myself were privileged enough to learn that we were headed off to state on April 23rd to represent NCSS and the School District of Rhinelander. Also advancing from NCSS are Skylar Peitsch (and her partner, Megan Hoffhein, JWMS) and Hannah Rumney. I can’t wait to see all of the different products and competition that will be displayed at State. You can check out my NHD website by clicking on this link: http://60579848.nhd.weebly.com/