National History Day 2014Rogers High School juniors presented their National History Day Projects on Wednesday February 12(Lincoln's Birthday!), 2014.This year's theme was "Rights and Responsibilities in History" All juniors were required to participate.Newport Daily News February 13,2014Full Text of the ArticlePresentations from the past
National History DayBy Sean Flynn
NEWPORT — Hannah Davis read in the newspapers about Henrietta Lacks, who died in 1951 and whose family did not gain control of access to her DNA code until August 2013.
The case inspired Davis, a junior at Rogers High School, to read more about medical ethics and eventually led her to the Tuskegee Institute Syphilis Study, a medical experiment now condemned for its irresponsibility and callousness.
Her project on the study was one of 74 exhibits, film documentaries and websites developed by Rogers juniors for National History Day, which was observed Wednesday. “Rights and Responsibilities” was the national theme for this year’s student projects, and members of the community served as judges during the academic competition.
“I didn’t know anything about the history of medical ethics,” Davis said. “The Tuskegee case stood out for me as one of the most unethical.”
In 1932, the U.S. Public Health Service began observing 400 poor African-American men with syphilis to study how the disease progressed if untreated. Two hundred healthy men served as controls. The impoverished men from Alabama’s Macon County thought they were receiving free governmental health care, but they received no meaningful health care.
“They were given things like aspirin,” Davis said.
The study continued until 1972, although it was discovered in the 1940s that penicillin was a cure for syphilis. The men were subjected to years of blood tests and spinal taps, and autopsies were conducted when they died. Wives contracted the disease and their children were born with congenitalRogers High School juniors employ a variety of media in their National History Day exhibits.syphilis.
“The only purpose of the 40-year study was to determine what the disease did to the body,” Davis said.
The Lacks case, the beginning of Davis’ research, pales in comparison. In 1951, Lacks unknowingly donated healthy and cancerous cervical cells that became part of an “immortal cell line” still used in biomedical research. Under the agreement reached last year by her descendants and the National Institutes of Health, two family members will join a six-member committee that will regulate access to Lacks’ DNA code.
The National History Day projects often have an impact on the students’ college and career plans.
“I hope to follow my interest in medical ethics all the way to medical school,” Davis said.
Their passion for music led Anna Phelps and Lilly Zammer to do their project on the development of jazz as a result of the “Great Migration” of African-Americans from the South to northern cities between 1916 and 1930. New York’s black population increased from 91,709 in 1910 to 327,706 in 1930, according to census information and other population data assembled by the students. In Chicago, the black population of 44,103 in 1910 jumped to 233,903 in 1930.
Phelps and Zammer showed how the population movements and disruption led to increased rights for the minority population. Lynchings were common in the South, and Ku Klux Klan groups were powerful throughout the country when the “Great Migration” began. The students played jazz pieces like Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit,” a song about lynching, as a backdrop for their exhibit.
Zammer plays the saxophone and clarinet and plans to study music in college. Phelps played the piano, drums and guitar until high school scheduling posed some conflicts.
“I’d like to be a music teacher,” Zammer said.
“I want to be a pharma-cist,” Phelps said, adding that she adores jazz and music will remain a passion.
Samantha Beckford and Na’ila Abdus-Salaam studied how women’s fashion changed as the battle for women’s rights progressed from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, to 1920 and the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.
“Women had to wear multiple layers of clothing, long dresses and long sleeves so they did not show much of their body,” Beckford said. “As they gained more rights, they started to wear shorter dresses and sleeves, and even pants. They got rid of layers of clothes and dressed more with the freedom that men had.”
“They could finally work outside their homes, they could vote and they could wear what they pleased,” Salaam said.
Jacob Bianchi grew up hiking and camping in wildlife areas like the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter and surrounding towns and the Big River Management area in West Greenwich, where he developed a great love for the outdoors.
“Itistheresponsibilityof usas a people to protect and conserve ouropenland,”hesaid.“Withthe amount of damage we have done to so much of our land, we have a responsibility to conserve what’s left because future generations have a right to enjoy it.”
Bianchi constructed his exhibit out of wood in the high school carpentry shop and made it look like a national park sign. He showed the history of land conservation, including President Theodore Roosevelt’s creation of five national parks and 150 national forests, and President Woodrow Wilson’s creation of the National Park Service to maintain the large amounts of federal land.
Bianchi plans to study environmental science and management in college. His dream job would be to work for the National Park Service, either in management or as a park ranger, or for the state Department of Environmental Management, he said.
“If I could work outdoors, I’d be happy,” he said.
Many of the students exhibited their projects in the high school gym, but others used other media to share their historical research. Some made film documentaries ranging in length from 10 to 20 minutes. They included: “Child Labor” by Joshua Streete, Levon Campbell and Rennia Edwards; “Life on the Homefront” by Catherine Hermes and Adela Wawrzyniak; “Factory Farms” by Nyasia Cole; “The Rights and Responsibilities of the Artist” by Marquise Scott; “Whaling Women” by Gillian Lessels; and “Tabloids” by Kirby Kochanowski.
Student-developed websites included: “Benedict Arnold: A Hero of a Traitor” by Hugo Murphy-Avenengo; “FDR & the New Deal” by Harrison Renshaw; “Americanization of Immigrants” by Ciara Traynum; “The Space Race” by Jackson Baker, Asa Montgomery and Alexander Waugh; and “Nixon & the Watergate Scandal: I Am Not a Crook” by Brielle Hansen and Lilly Larson.
The junior class at Rogers High School has participated in the National History Day competition for eight years , beginning in 2007.
ROGERS HIGH SCHOOL NATIONAL HISTORY DAY 2014 WINNERS
DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY Individual First place: Gillian Lessels, ‘Whaling Women.’
Second place (tie):
Marquise Scott, ‘The Rights and Responsibilities of the Artist,’ and Kirby Kochanowski, ‘Tabloids.’
Group First place: Catherine Hermes and Adela Wawrzyniak, ‘Life on the Homefront.’
Second place: Joshua Streete, Levon Campbell and Rennia Edwards, ‘Child Labor.’
EXHIBIT CATEGORY Individual First place: Hannah Davis, ‘Racism and Research: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study.’
Second place: Jacob Bianchi, ‘National Parks, The Great Outdoors.’
Third place: Mirasia Cassese, ‘Jesse Owens.’
Group First place: Sarah Morris and Beatrix Lavigueur, ‘The Progression of Women in the Olympics.’
Second place: Jesse Fickel, Aaron Johnson and Alex Caparas, ‘The American Presidency.’
Third place: Caroline Coaty, Avianna Guerrero and Brenna Edward, ‘City by the Sea: Newport, RI.’
WEBSITE CATEGORY Individual First place: Harrison Renshaw, ‘FDR and the New Deal.’
Second place: Hugo Murphy-Avenengo, ‘Benedict Arnold: A Hero or a Traitor.’
Third place: Ciara Traynum, ‘Americanization of Immigrants.’ Group First place: Brielle Hansen and Lilly Larson, ‘Nixon and the Watergate Scandal: I Am Not a Crook.’
Second place: Jackson Baker, Asa Montgomery and Alexander Waugh, ‘The Space Race.’
HONORABLE MENTIONS Class of 1977 Alumni Award: Ireland Barta and Haley Kennedy, ‘Carter and the Iranian Hostage Crisis.’
Jameson Robinson, ‘Lafayette.’
Creativity: Catherine Dowler, Seattle Sims and Capri Ponte, ‘Flappers.’
Criminal Justice Award:
Kiara Diaz, ‘Capital Punishment.’
Design: Na’ila Abdus-Salaam and Samantha Beckford, ‘Women’s Rights and Fashion in History.’
Display: Chase Baker, ‘The American Cowboy.’
Dahmere Jones, ‘Samuel Adams.’
Historical Significance, Individual: Julia Everitt, ‘McCarthyism.’
Historical Significance, Group: Connor Pratt and Jonathan Chapman, ‘The Atomic Bomb.’
History Department Award:
Anna Phelps and Lilly Zammer, ‘All That Jazz.’
Military History: David Byrne, ‘Gettysburg.’
Social History: Rachel Collum, ‘Dorothea Dix and the Mentally Ill.’
Social Impact: Quiara Brooks, Kareem Cooper and Joshua Williams, ‘The Black Panthers.’
Sports History: Garrett Gunning, ‘Fighting in Hockey: Responsibility of a Sport.’
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As a requirement for graduation, all juniors (11th grade) students are required to participate in National History DayNational History Day is a nation-wide academic competition focusing on history for students in grades 6-12. Each year, more than half a million students construct entries as an individual or in a group in one of five categories-Documentary, Exhibit, Paper, Performance or Website. RHS students who achieve first or second place go on to the state competition held at Providence College in April. State winners proceed to the National Competition held at the University of Maryland in June.
Since first entering the competition in 2007, Rogers has proudly sent students to Nationals every year.
The mission of National History Day is to provide students with opportunities to learn historical content and develop research, thinking and communication skills through the study of history and to provide educators with resources and training to enhance classroom teaching.
Each year's competition is based around a theme. This year's is "Rights and Responsibilities in History"
2016: Migration & Movement in History: People, Places, Ideas
2017: Taking a Stand in History
For further information, please consult The National History Day Website - http://www.nhd.org/index.htm