AP capstone seminar students compete at the state level National History Day Competition

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Four regional finalists from the Townsend Harris AP capstone seminar class advanced to the state level National History Day competition in Cooperstown, NY on April 23.

Sophomore Nicholas Rao placed second in the documentary category. He reflected on the research process, stating, “Although it was challenging and strenuous at times and took over 30 hours of work to complete, I would still recommend it to anyone with a passion for history or research.”

According to Nicholas, the competition provided a learning experience for its participants, who were given the opportunity to see other winners’ projects.

“Throughout the trip, I definitely gained some perspective regarding our state that I couldn’t have gotten while staying in the city,” said sophomore Elizabeth Katanov, who won first place in the performance category. “I believe that the trip enhanced my self-confidence and inspired me to look into other possible competitions as well.”

Despite the lengthy research process and the immense amount of effort that National History Day demanded, the finalists found the end result to be rewarding. Nicolas commented on how different the state and regional contests were, specifically pointing out the formality and competitiveness levels. “Although I was only up against 12 others, they were 12 other projects who had also already won first or second,” he said. “However, it was still an exciting and educating experience to be able to go to Cooperstown to compete.”

Sophomore Pooja Reddy, the second place winner in the paper category, added, “Overall, my experience as a whole was extremely gratifying as I was able to exhibit my passion for a historical research topic through a paper, as well as through an interview with judges.”

From June 10-14, Pooja will be going to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national level of National History Day. She expressed her excitement and looks forward to sharing her “passion for [her] research topic to the judges and for another gratifying experience.”


Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Katanov