April 10 2019

Four MSMS Students Heading to National History Competition in Washington D.C.



A group of Burlington middle schoolers have shown they have what it takes to win in a state competition and head to the national finals.


“In its first year sending teams to the National History Day, Marshall Simonds Middle School made its presence known with four students qualifying for the National Competition in Washington D.C. in June,” a blog post from Burlington Public Schools says.


The 7th grade team of  Nolan Martin, Matt Shannon, and Emerson Waisnor (pictured above) won in the documentary competition for their film on the Woburn Cancer Cluster.


The documentary details the fight of Woburn families to first identify the source of an uptick in Leukemia cases, ensure the contaminated water supplies were discontinued and to seek justice from the polluters.


Their in-depth efforts included interviews with Attorney Jan Schlichtmann, Victims’ mothers Mary Toomey and Donna Robbins, and reporter Dan Kennedy.


The documentary, made with a combination of file footage, old photos and news reports, and interviews offers a great overview of the situation in Woburn at the time. You can watch the documentary here.


Also, 6th-grader Julia Shvartsman (pictured below) also qualified for the National Competition in the performance category for her informative presentation on Rosie the Riveter.


“Shvartsman coupled her passion for acting with hours of research on Rosie the Riveter to take second place in the state in her category,” the blog says.



Other students participated in the competition and demonstrated a passion for history.


"All in all, MSMS entered 15 projects in the district National History Day Competition and from that group six projects were chosen to move forward to last week's State Competition,” the blog post reads. “Sending two projects forward to the National Competition in June was a pleasant surprise for MSMS History Teacher Barbara Sturtevant who worked after school each week to support the work of the MSMS students.”


National History Day is an interdisciplinary research project for students in grades 6-12 that encourages exploration of local, state, national, and world history, the event’s website explains. Each year more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest. History day teaches students to:

- Conduct in-depth research

- Use primary and secondary sources

- Work with libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and/or historic sites

- Analyze and interpret their findings

- Write and present their historical research



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