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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

National History Day participants take time to tour capital

Zooming around Washington, D.C., on Segways with four classmates and history teacher Kim Anzalone, senior Jasmine Deng paused to take pictures of landmarks including the White House, the Washington Monument and the Capitol.

She yelled “Go Falcons!” into the echoing Canadian embassy, took pictures of an East Coast specialty — fireflies — and even posed for random tourists, many of whom were intrigued to find five kids and their teacher riding around the capital of the United States on Segways.

Deng traveled to D.C. with four other students to represent the school in the National History Day competition from June 15-19. Although the participants had a busy schedule, they set aside time for sightseeing as well.

In the past two years, the school sent a total of six students and four entries to the national competition, compared to the five students and two entries sent this summer alone.

Senior Max Chang received the History in the Federal Government Award at the competition for his website “Miranda v. Arizona: Rebalancing Rights and Responsibilities,” as well as $200, which he admits to have not spent yet.

Chang found History Day to be a valuable learning experience because of the connections between current events and history.

“When I started my project, I had no clue about civil rights,” said Chang, “After you really think deeply, you learn all these things. I mean even [the] Boston [Marathon] bombers connected to Miranda [Rights]; you get to see how everything is part of this larger web.”

Deng was also able to explore topics she had not been exposed to before through the creation of a website entitled “Exodus for the Boat People: Rights of Refugees. Responsibilities of America” with seniors Minda Lee, Michelle Leung and Vivian Roan.

“Since I've never been to D.C. before, my favorite part of the trip was definitely visiting the Smithsonian Museums, monuments and memorials,” Deng said. “What I had learned in AP U.S. History from a textbook was enriched with [seeing] relics and artifacts from history and literally standing on history.”

The students were chaperoned by Anzalone and her husband. According to the students, Anzalone made the trip even more incredible with her outgoing personality and sociable interactions with everyone, from a soldier who fought in Afghanistan and was previously stationed in North Carolina to a young child visiting his grandparents.

“The whole trip was fabulous and we had such a great time with each other because it was such a nice small group,” Anzalone said.

Deng said that standing where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood for his "I have a Dream" speech and taking a Segway tour of D.C. with the group were the most memorable parts of the trip.

“The Segway [tour] was the best,” Anzalone said. “And we cracked each other up and we got to see all the great stuff in D.C.”

While the last History Day proved successful for participants, students are already hard at work preparing for the next competition. The prompt for the 2014-15 school year is Leaders and Legacies.

“I’m looking forward to touring the archives, sifting through the material,” senior Ethan Ngai said. “There are a lot of different sources, and a lot of them will give you a new perspective.”

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