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GBMS shines at National History Day

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In early June, while many were on summer break, National History Day was occurring at the University of Maryland. Two of GBMS’s own students, Grace Mims and Max Mateer, participated in the national level of the competition. Grace constructed an exhibit board revolving around Rachel Carson, a person who took a stand against the misuse of toxins in insecticides. Max performed a project based on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both projects, however, were produced well enough to go to the national level of the competition. 

Grace found the topic for her exhibit due to a book called, Silent Spring. Grace states, “My mother used to work for the National Park Service at Gulf Islands National Seashore. She would always tell me that Silent Spring was the ‘Bible’ of the Park Service. I took this bit of knowledge into consideration and decided to read the book. After reading it, I was surprised by its poignant message. I then realized it fit the NHD theme and went from there.” Grace chose to do an exhibit board due to her being a kinesthetic person, with her also passing up doing a website due not being particularly tech savvy. A historical exhibit was the perfect fit for her. Incredibly, she made it into fourth place at the national competition. 

Max Mateer, winner of the performance division in NHD. Max presents his performance on the Cuban Missile Crisis, with Max being deeply into his role.

Max originally did not want to do a project on the Cuban Missile Crisis, rather he wanted to do a project on John F. Kennedy. Three months into Max’s research, he found a documentary called The Man Who Saved the World, introducing Max to Vasili Arkhipov, who was a Soviet submarine fleet commander who, in Max’s words, “…refused to fire a nuclear torpedo with the strength of the Hiroshima bomb on the Americans….” Arkhipov’s decision allowed President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, to settle the missile crisis the next day. Max ultimately opted to do his National History Day project on Arkhipov instead of Kennedy. 

Mrs. Grace Freeman started having her gifted classes, and now her advanced history classes, participate in National History Day in 2006 because she believed it would be a great way to have students learn researching, writing, and critical thinking skills. According to Mrs. Freeman, she says, “I learned so much about both the Cuban Missile Crisis and Rachel Carson just by being involved in helping the students. They did a complete job of presenting not just the views of the main characters involved in the events, but all of the perspectives of the parties involved. As a teacher, I was proud to be represented by both these students and their work.” Previously, Mrs. Freeman has had two other national winners, Macy Mateer (Max’s older sister) in 2013, and Nick Gupta in 2008. National History Day is a tense, yet exciting time, both for those viewing and those who participate. 

 

Max Mateer wins first place in the performance division of National History Day.

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GBMS shines at National History Day