Fifteen students participate in State History Day

May 31, 2010 — by Albert Gu

After advancing from the county competition in April, 15 juniors traveled to Pasadena in early May to participate in the State History Day competition.

Junior Steven Louie was a semi-finalist with his paper on Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and junior Shannon Galvin took third place, becoming the alternate to the national competition with her website on John Marshall and judicial review.

History Day is a national competition with four levels: the school fair, county fair, state fair and national fair. At each level of competition, a panel of judges selects the participants allowed to advance to the next level. There are a total of five divisions: research paper, exhibit, performance, documentary and website, with an option to work in a group for all but research papers, for a total of nine categories.

The competitors started their History Day projects in September and worked on them for almost the entire school year in preparation for the county and state competitions.

“At first, my intention for doing History Day was to get extra credit for APUSH,” said Galvin, who made a website by herself for the competition. “But it turned out to be a good experience, and I’m glad the extra credit inspired me to do it.”

The research process itself was long and involved. Each individual or group first had to choose a topic in accordance to this year’s theme: Innovation in History. They then used the school’s online databases as well as off-campus resources to put together background information. Some students went even further; several, including Galvin, went to interview professors at universities around the Bay Area.

The three-day trip was led by history teacher Matt Torrens and principal Jeff Anderson. Most of this year’s participants came from Torrens’ APUSH classes because he actively encourages and helps his students in the process.

“The students here at Saratoga don’t have a lot of opportunity to practice their research skills,” said Torrens. “I think it is important that they get the chance to practice research in their social studies class, and History Day is a great opportunity to do this.”

1 view this week