Social science research students sweep city competition, go to states

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Fifteen sophomores from Social Studies teacher Franco Scardino’s Social Science Research (SSR) class traveled to Cooperstown, New York on April 27 for the New York State History Day competition, where they competed for a spot at the national competition in June.

In order to progress to states, the student’s project had to place first or second in a category at the city competition, which occurred in March.

The sophomores swept the city wide SSR competition, with 20 out of 33 entrants placing either first, second, or third. Townsend Harris placed more than any other public or private NYC high school at the contest. The state qualifiers were Nicholas Doss-Hom and Pamela Pajares for the Individual Website category, Arianna Dookhu, Mark Zurita and Suzanna Balkissoon for the Group Website category, Benjamin Pulatov and Samantha Jaloza for the Individual Performance category, Michelle Illescas for the Individual Exhibit category, Brianna Manginelli and Mariana Molina for the Group Exhibit category, and  Mithila Hossain, Matthew Mandel, Georja Fotiou, Mya Allen and Patrycja Komaniecki  for the Group Documentary category.

The third place winners at the city competition were Genova Brown for the Individual Website category, Omar Daoud and Christian Foronda for the Group Website category, and Boluwatife Oloruntoba and Agastya Vaidya for the Group Performance category.

The projects centered on historical research, with topics ranging from the Civil Rights March, film and dance, and the impact of the cutter knife on a garment workers’ union.

Mr. Scardino explained the structure of the six semester course, saying, “[The] sophomore part…is the historical aspect of research where students learn basic research skills such as finding and annotating sources.”

Regarding the win, on the school website Mr. Scardino stated, “Our students are truly the best in the city.”

Agastya, who won third for a group performance about THHS alumnus Jonas Salk, said, “no one could deny [the class] created projects which were thoroughly researched.”