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LFA students excel at National History Day competition

Photo by @lfacademyonInstagram
LFA students competed at the National History Day Competition

Last month, sixteen LFA students who competed in the Chicago Metro History Fair brought back impressive accomplishments-which took place on National History Day-under the guidance of Michelle Vaca, ELL teacher. Chicago Metro History Fair involves students in grades 6th through 12th choosing their own topics connected to an annual theme and researching, analyzing, and eventually presenting in a project from their topics. From the students that competed on March 2nd, five students have qualified for the state competition, which will be held on April 24th in Springfield, Illinois. As approximately 800 projects across all over Chicagoland have entered the National History Day competition, it is a major accomplishment for these students, as the results show their testament to their hard work. This comes after nearly three months of dedication and time spent perfecting their projects. The five state qualifiers are Aaron Kim ’27, Heeji Moon ‘27, Philip Nguyen ‘26, Grace Wang ’27, and Nishant Narayanan ‘27, who will be further preparing for the upcoming state competition, bringing excitement as they will be representing LFA among other state qualifiers. 

Vaca, who wanted her students to do this to prepare them for future research, explained how National History Day is not just an ordinary competition. NHD’s motto is “It’s not just a day. It’s their experience”. At the heart of this initiative is the belief that education should be experiential, allowing students to take ownership of their learning. Students competing were given the freedom to choose their own historical topics starting last November and were given opportunities to hand in their application in various forms such as essays, websites, videos, or even a performance. LFA students competed in the history fair with various forms, such as websites and videos. Jessica Xu ‘27 has shown impressive work by working both in conducting a website and writing her individual paper presenting the history of the peninsula. Xu recounted her experience, saying how conducting the website was enjoyable because she was able to put videos and pictures of what she had researched. She also mentioned that “ It was a bit of a challenge to both manage the individual paper and the website at the same time. Nevertheless, “ I learned a lot about how to write a research paper, and it was fun learning how to make my own website,” Xu said. 

During the process of producing their projects, they had to go through their researching process, mainly looking for primary sources to support their argument. With the help of Rita MacAyeal, the director of the library, they were able to engage in archival works and got help with primary source readings, and citations. Heeji Moon ‘27, a state qualifier writing a paper about Mendelian Genetics, discussed how she learned to incorporate primary sources into her research paper using various sources and learned how to compose a long paper. Heeji also said, “I learned a lot of new information about genetics, researching various sources and analyzing them in depth.” After researching and revising, students are required to conduct interviews with individuals who are related to the topic they have chosen.

 After finishing the project on March 2nd, LFA students competed the whole day, where they sat with judges in each room, presenting their work. Vaca explained how most of the judges were professors and experts in each topic. She also said, “One of the students who have qualified for state, Grace, her judge,” wrote a book on her topic. You can see how well these projects were; even the author of the book commended her for a great project.” After the evaluation from the judges, two students from each topic are qualified to compete in state competitions. 

As the students move into the next stages of competition, the hard work they put in is clear. Despite how the state competition turns out, the students hope to expand their project in the coming years by turning this into a club next year where they hope to broaden the LFA community and continue what they have learned. 

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Erin Cho, Assistant Managing Editor of Production
Liv Kelly, Managing Editor of Op-Ed

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