Sierra Middle School students compete in annual National History Day celebration
PARKER - Sierra Middle School eighth graders have been researching historical figures, collaborating with each other, problem solving, designing and coding websites and hammering and hot gluing exhibits together. Students finally had the chance to show off their hard work to parents and the community at the school’s National History Day event on February 1.
This is the third year that Sierra has held a major National History Day (NHD) event thanks to Sierra's history teacher, Will Knight.
"I brought NHD with me when I joined the district and have dragged a few unsuspecting teachers into it with me. It's exhausting and at the same time exhilarating," he said. "Students become so invested in their topics that their enthusiasm is catching, it's their time to shine as the historical experts."
"NHD at Sierra is a fluid event," he added. "We learn each year how to improve and always debrief with the kids the following day. And, believe me they let us know both what was great and what need improvement!"
Students Reagan McCann and Aimee Zinter, who assembled an impressive display about John Wilkes Booth, including wooden construction and electrical connections with lights, are in their second year of participating in National History Day for Sierra. Last year, they were part of a select group of seventh graders who also had the opportunity to research a historical figure, assemble a project and present it to the public.
"This really gives us the opportunity to experience a high level of research, while presenting and making the display look nice, and it prepares us for the kind of work we'll do in high school," they said.
Their choice of historical figure was to demonstrate that history isn't always happy, but can be an opportunity to change the course of the future.
"Presidential security and the Secret Service grew from his actions," they explained.
Attendees of the event also serve as judges for each project. Top level participants move on to Regionals and eventually may move up to the National level competition. In the past, Sierra has had several students progress through Regionals, State and Nationals.
For McCann and Zinter, who spent four months researching and working on their project and presentation, they have their eye on the prize.
"We want to go to Nationals!" they said.
View a gallery of some of the student projects below.