Student advances to nationals, two students win a 529 plan


By Sophia Perticarini and Ella Harris

National History Day (NHD): a day to celebrate the time yet to be forgotten, to embrace a singular moment that changed thousands of lives and to test how far we have come together as a society. Some say history is made each and every day while others believe history is a guide to our future. Others believe that some history may never even have existed. However the individual sees history, no one can deny the impact that three students made on GlenOak history this year. 

Ever since 7th grade, freshmen Alex Salvino, Sofia Codispoti and Kaydin Watson have been participating in NHD in a variety of different formats. Their origin story can be traced to their 7th grade English teacher who encouraged their participation in the competition, and the rest is history. They have been involved ever since.

“Our 7th grade Language Arts teachers had gotten us involved in this,” Codispoti said. “Our project was writing essays about our chosen topic, and then once we got accepted in, we did a project on the Trojan War.” 

Topics such as the Trojan War were chosen directly by the students based on the theme for the year and the overall interests of those who participate. These perceivably mundane topics gave students the leg room to truly let their imagination run wild, creating interesting and animated projects from these historical events.

“You can create anything that you want with it. You have the freedom with your own project,” Salvino said.

These freedoms manifested in projects that were worthy of high praise from the judges. For example, Kaydin Watson truly engaged in something that sparked her interests and was rewarded for her hard work.

“I did an animation about Walt Disney and I did a performance about him throughout his life. I am going to nationals,” Watson said.

This animation was not the only project from the group to get praise. Codispoti and Salvino received a $250 529 savings account.  

National History Day does not only offer a monetary incentive for those who win. The process of building a project from scratch is satisfying and enjoyable for those who truly go in-depth in their chosen topic.

“Getting to work with friends on something that I find interesting. Not just sitting in class and taking notes,” Codispoti said. “You get to work with whoever you want and present however you want.”

With the increase of popularity in National History Day among students, Salvino, Watson and Codispoti find themselves ahead of the crowd. They have gained a great deal of experience from participating in the competition since 7th grade, and have grown significantly regarding the strategies that they utilize throughout NHD.

“I feel like they [the projects] have improved because of our writing,” Salvino said. “You always have to be prepared for anything.”

Being prepared for anything, as Watson explains, requires one thing: Research Watson not sure what this means. It is a crucial part of any project done for National History Day. Without the correct facts, your entire project can be ruined. 

“We had gotten better at researching the certain historical events we are supposed to know per project,” Watson said. 

To those who are interested in National History Day, these three freshmen have some words of wisdom to offer.

“Be open to new ideas,” Codispoti said. “Topics can change based on what you want your performance or presentation to look like.”

Salvino further explains that being open-minded and flexible is the key to success. Without being pliable, your project may never finish in the first place. 

“Your topic can depend on what you want your theme to be, as Sofia talked about,” Salvino said. “Once again, you have to be flexible.”

Just like history, competitions such as National History Day have fluctuated and transformed based on ideals of cooperation and hard work. Without these influences, something such as winning a competition like National History Day could never be in reach.