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Making History at National History Day

March 15, 2013

This month, CMS North sent thirty students to compete in a regional National History Day event. Twelve of these students won awards at the regional event, and will go on to compete at the state level in May. Sonja Feaster, who was part of the winning team in the Group Exhibit category, shares her experience with us.

National History Day is an opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students to share their love of History and learn new things. My group included four of my friends and myself. The reason we chose to do our project on Ellis Island and Castle Gardens is because of the trip two of our group members had recently taken there. We were intrigued by the number of immigrants that went through the building and wanted to know more about immigration in general. This project allowed us the opportunity to study the topic freely and create a presentation of our new knowledge. We were also able to enter the NHD competition in order to see other people’s projects and compare ours to theirs. The District judges gave us information we can use to make our project better. Now we have the ability to go forward to the State level, meet more new people, and learn even more new things.

Our teacher, Ms. Geiger, supplied us with part of her collection of artifacts and suitcases for our display. They were old, and demonstrated what immigrants might have brought on their long journeys to the U.S. We stacked the cases and put the small items in one of the open cases. Then we displayed our important facts, old documents, and personal stories of the immigrants on the flat surfaces so they were easy to read and understand. Our ancestors went through a very difficult journey to get here, and our country would be different today if they had not come. The transition from the use of Castle Gardens to Ellis Island, in particular, was the beginning of many new concepts that brought immigration into the modern age.

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