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LISD students excel at National History Day

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Eddie Turk, Luisa Perez-Montes and Harper Armstrong (left to right) finished in the top 10 at National History Day for their group website. COURTESY PHOTOEddie Turk, Luisa Perez-Montes and Harper Armstrong (left to right) finished in the top 10 at National History Day for their group website. COURTESY PHOTO

A group of Livingston ISD students, teachers and chaperones traveled to College Park, Maryland, last week to compete in the 2023 National History Day contest. The event was held in person for the first time in four years. Over 2,600 students and 600 teachers attended the national contest, which took place on the University of Maryland campus.

During the 2022–2023 school year, over half a million students globally completed projects centered around the theme, Frontiers in History: People, Ideas, and Events, in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website.

Livingston Junior High eighth graders Eddie Turk, Luisa Perez-Montes and Harper Armstrong were sponsored by Kristina Miller and named as finalists for their group website “The Light in the Darkness: The Frontier of Electrifying Rural America.” Their project finished in the top 10 out of approximately 100 entries.

“This is a big deal, we’ve only had one other junior division website advance to nationals in the past,” Miller said. “I’m proud of the success these students had, and they represented Livingston ISD, our community, and Texas very well.” 

The group was also recognized for their use of “chronicling America” during the research process of their project.

The students shared that they have enjoyed the NHD process and competing the last three years, and they plan to compete during high school.  

LHS graduate, Maci Hill, was sponsored by Suzonna McFarlain. Hill competed in NHD in the sixth through 12th grade, and during that time, she advanced to the national level six times. Last year, she was named a National Endowment for Humanities Scholar (first place). This year, she competed with her individual documentary titled “Image Is Everything: Richard Nixon’s New Political Frontier.” Placing second in her contest room, Hill was among the top 20 entries and was also recognized for her use of “chronicling America” during her research.

“It has been a blessing to teach Maci through her junior high years and mentor her through her high school years,” McFarlain said. “She pours her heart and soul into every project she completes, and it shows. I am so proud of her, and I can’t wait to see what comes next as she starts a new journey at A&M in the fall.”

In addition to competing, the students were able to tour and explore several national monuments and historical landmarks throughout the week. The junior high students also learned how to navigate the Metro system and successfully planned the last day sightseeing travel route. The group said the night tour of D.C., as well as the Holocaust Museum, were their favorites.  

Hill had a unique opportunity during the week, as she traveled to C-SPAN on June 11 to meet with Brian Lamb, former CEO and founder of C-SPAN.

“I interviewed Mr. Lamb as an oral history interview for my documentary,” Hill said. “Mr. Lamb worked for the Nixon Administration in the Office of Telecommunications Policy and later went on to found C-SPAN. He was kind enough to give me a personal tour of their headquarters in Washington, D.C., which is located directly across from our nation’s capital. Mr. Lamb gifted me C-SPAN merchandise and historical books from C-SPAN to add to my personal library of history books. I was able to see the way C-SPAN operates its network, as well as engage in meaningful conversations with Mr. Lamb about history and my future. I am very grateful for Mr. Lamb’s kindness and generosity and will forever cherish my trip to C-SPAN.” 

The sponsors would like to thank the LISD Administration and school board for their support, encouragement and opportunities they provide for Gifted and Talented students.

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