The National Contest seemed like an impossible goal for me when I first started competing in sixth grade. Now, as my sophomore year of high school is ending and I am making the trip to the National Contest for the second time, I realize what an impact that not only Connecticut History Day has had on me, but also the National Contest.
After not qualifying for finals this year, losing to the eventual winner of the entire category, I was heartbroken. I did come second in the room, earning me a top twenty finish, but I wanted to move on, to show my hard work, and of course, to win. After quite a few tears and some ice cream, I realized that it was not all about the win. This may sound cliché, but I realized that for five years of competition, the way that I measured my success was in winning. Not the skills I learned, the people I met, the advice I received, or being able to teach others about my passion, but a gold medal. Winning each time is impossible.
Lindsay Moynihan is junior at Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Part 2 of Tina's post picks up during her National History Day experience. Make sure to read Part 1 to learn about how she got involved in Connecticut and National History Day!
The value of attending National History Day is beyond words. I went to workshops as to how to judge from a national lens. There were 50 states represented by students and other countries as well, so it was great to hear a larger perspective. I attended outstanding PD sessions, from using primary sources with the Library of Congress and The White House Project, through teaching through peace with the USIP, working with the Smithsonian Learning Lab, to ending the second day with the NHD experts. They keyed in on how to guide the children using the resources online in an in-depth manner, so you truly understood the expectations on a national level. I had the opportunity to brainstorm with teachers from all over the country. It was fantastic!
The CT delegation met Wednesday to tour the Capital. It was great having all the CT families together. The best, and probably the highlight of this trip, was meeting Senator Blumenthal. He took time to explain to the students his duties, explained some important Connecticut history related to the Capital, and stood right next to me for the photo op! I was beaming with pride from ear to ear. We then had free tickets arranged by NHD to Newseum, and spent the afternoon taking in all the museum had to offer. My parent and student took advantage of their off time while I was in PD and spent two other days seeing the sights. They went to Arlington, took a trolley around the city, went to the National Archives and much more. They loved taking the Metro learning their way around our nation’s epicenter.
Last, we attended the award ceremony…not going to lie, it was hours and hours. We kept waiting to hear the individual website category, and finally the moment arrived. Hannah’s name was not announced for bronze, silver, or gold. As I assured her that just getting this far in our short time even doing History Day was awesome, I caught the Jumbo Tron out of the corner of my eye and saw Hannah Robinson, East Haddam, CT Typhoid Mary along with four other names as a National Finalist! We couldn’t believe it! At the start of this year, there were almost a half a million students nation-wide. Hannah competed with the top 3,000 that made the journey. I couldn’t be more proud! There is a real excitement about research now, and a huge amount of hometown pride. Our little town made it amongst some huge schools in Connecticut. We are already starting on next year’s theme, Triumph and Tragedy!
As a result of my love for this program, I took another risk. I applied with the Teacher Fund Grant and my colleague, Melissa Torrente and I received a $10,000 grant to tour Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland from July 8-July 21st. We will study history first hand, focusing on the perspectives of world events from the people who live there. We can’t wait!