Students prosper in special year of National History Day

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 “The Black Lives Matter campaign inspired me to create a project on women standing up against violence due to racial discrimination.  Since this was a team project, my group had to meet and coordinate during Winter Break to try and get the project done in time. There were many difficulties with working online but at the end we were able to win the school and county level competition,” Kangana Modi said. (Photo Submitted/ Ella Mosquera).

Each year, Heritage participates in National History Day (NHD), a competition designed for history-loving students to research a certain topic and create a related project. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Heritage was unable to hold a fair with physical exhibits. Eighth graders and sophomores who usually do NHD were thus no longer required to do so, with eighth graders required to do author study and literary analysis instead. 

Yet, 20 students still signed up, with four projects going to district, three to state and one to the national competition. Heritage was the only school from Broward County at NHD, with eighth graders Kangana Modi, Ella Mosquera and Helena Bosch Burigo competing in the junior group exhibit, eighth grader Emma Delgado in the junior documentary and sophomore Mary Abi-Karam in the senior paper. This year, the competition related to the theme of communication and history.

Emma Delgado initially didn’t want to participate in National History Day. Although she had done research and annotated almost 50 sources over the summer, she initially decided to opt out of the competition until she was convinced to participate by seventh grade U.S. History and eighth grade Civics Honors teacher Mrs. Porges. Wanting to compete in the junior division the last year she could, she chose to make a documentary about Hurricane Andrew. Inspired by her parents’ and grandparents’ experiences in the hurricane, she created a 10 minute documentary, describing the devastating impacts of the hurricane and heroic actions of various media sources to limit the destruction.

She spent two full days editing, working from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. for regionals and another 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. for states. Since the competitions were virtual this year, once she edited the projects, she could only wait for the results.

“Since you just click submit and the project is now off as you uploaded it to Google Drive, you don’t get to see the judges’ reactions. Last year, you had to present to the judges and give a quick three sentence synopsis before you played the documentary for them. This year, I didn’t even know who my judges were,” Delgado said.

Ella Mosquera, Kangana Modi and Helena Burigio decided to look at three mothers whose sons were killed in senseless acts of violence in a project titled “Mothers’ Voices.” Each woman communicated to the world that these wanton acts had to stop, with the group creating three panels of the exhibit to dedicate each panel to each mother and her son. The exhibit discussed what the black mens’ lives, explained how the sons died and how and why their mothers communicated to the world that this behavior had to stop. They, then, presented the impact of these actions. 

Because of COVID-19, participants had to make a slideshow of their boards. “We did not get much experience when it came to the competitions; all we did was submit and wait for the results. I loved doing NHD and especially with my partners, and I hope I will be able to do it again next year and win nationals,” said Ella Mosquera.


Eva, now a senior at American Heritage School, returns to staff as Online Editor-in-Chief and Social Media Correspondent. She enjoys all things literature and mathematics, spending most of her time with her nose in a book or doing math problems. She is an active participant in many school clubs, as president of Black Student Union and Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMs) and vice president of Key Club, armed with a passion for helping others. When she is not studying or promoting the wonderful articles on iPatriotPost, she is at swim practice, volunteering within her community or watching Netflix. She looks forward to making her final year in iPatriotPost as amazing as possible.

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