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  • Manal Shala

National History Day (NHD) Preparations

National History Day Preparations

Every year, PVS middle and high school students participate in the National History Day (NHD) Contest. Students choose a historical topic based on an annual theme, conduct thorough research, and analyze the significance of the topic in history. The students must then choose a category to create their project. There are five project categories: documentary, exhibit, performance, website, and paper. All categories can be either group or individual, except for papers, which are only individual. Students compete against each other based on their category and whether it’s a group or individual project. There are four different stages of the NHD competition. It begins at the school level and if the project wins, it advances to the regional level, then the state level, and finally the national level. The school competition at PVS this year is on January 8th, 2021. PVS students have already begun working hard on their projects for this year’s competition.

Ms. Nisreen Malley, a former NHD participant who had been recognized for state and national level achievements in NHD as a high school student, has been helping her middle school students prepare for the competition. Ms. Nisreen explains the importance of NHD and how she has been working with her students to prepare: “I have been working closely with students to cover a lot of the basics of doing good research. As a former NHD participant, I feel NHD really provided me with an invaluable skillset, and later facilitated my future endeavors in doing research after college, and it makes me truly happy to have the opportunity to now be able to guide students through it.”

This year's NHD theme is "Communication in History: The Key to Understanding." Ms. Nisreen explained that in her class, they have explored the role of communication and miscommunication in a number of historical events, and in current events. They have also discussed the scope of the student projects and the importance of thinking about the impact that certain events have had on society. They have also spent some time identifying bias, and looking at the role it plays in the dissemination of information both in older works and in media today.

Ms. Nisreen pointed out that a big part of completing an NHD project, like any research project, is the exploration of primary and secondary sources, distinguishing them, using them, and citing them. In addition to that, students have practiced forming an arguable claim and a well-supported thesis.

Although the interview process is likely not going to happen this year due to COVID safety precautions, Ms. Nisreen has set up one on one meetings with all her students and does mock interviews on the progress of their projects so that students will have the opportunity to verbally talk through their argument, their information gathering, and their research process.

“I am excited for students to compete in our school competition in January, and go on to represent PVS at the regional, state, and national levels inshallah!” Ms. Nisreen said. In the past few years, PVS students have won many NHD awards throughout all the levels, and inshaAllah with enough preparation our students will continue to represent PVS in the best manner possible.

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