Freshmen Participate In National History Day: Debate and Diplomacy


As students approach the final due date, freshmen are hard at work on their National History Day (NHD) projects. NHD projects are assigned to relay information about historical moments or movements that students are interested in and to build research and presentation skills. GT History students have been working on NHD since the beginning of the school year.
This year’s prompt is, “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences”. The purpose of this prompt is to get students thinking about moments in history where debates and diplomacy had a positive or negative effect on the world afterwards and the nuances of those situations. There’s a wide variety of topics that students can research, from Native American suffrage to the consequences of the Korean War. Students are allowed to pick their own topic of interest.
“I chose my project because I wanted to know how the rights women have came to be, along with the fights that were had to gain those rights,” freshman Samhita Kalla said.
Kalla’s topic is about which factor led to the success of the Women’s suffrage movement.
There are many possibilities to what an NHD project could be about. Students may have the same general idea, but go about researching it in different ways.
For example, another freshman is focusing on the topic of the Native American suffrage.
“I chose this topic because I thought it was really interesting how long of a struggle it was for Native Americans to be able to vote,” freshman Ella Ugiansky said.
Other topics include, prominent civil rights activists, the consequences of war, and women’s reproductive rights.
These topics show how certain debates, like if certain groups of people should have the right to vote, can lead to or steer away from diplomacy. Students also have to look at the opposing side of the perspective they chose to argue in order to build up their arguments better.
Along with learning more about certain topics, students feel that doing NHD has helped them improve their research skills and learn new lessons about history and people in general.
Freshman Chelsea Asiedu’s project is about the repatriation of prisoners of the Korean War. “I like learning something new and something that I wouldn’t have learned if I had done a quick Google search; that I can go in depth and find things that I wouldn’t have known about in the first place,” Asiedu said.
Freshman Cara Aument’s project is comparing the different ideologies of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. “I think something important to see is that people have different opinions, but neither of them are necessarily right or wrong,” Aument said.
Students also learn more practical lessons, like how to manage their time better and how to structure an argument properly. Although there are many aspects that students enjoy about NHD, there are also many challenges. NHD is assigned to build research skills, but it seems that that is the hardest part of the project.
“The most challenging aspect of this project is definitely coming up with evidence to support your claim and piecing it together in a coherent way,” freshman Kalla said.
“It’s hard to find reliable sources that were written during the time period my topic was taking place,” freshman Mythrireddy Saripalli said.
Even though there are many challenges, students feel accomplished after overcoming them. “While it’s tough, I like finding evidence that supports my claim because I feel accomplished after finding resources that help my argument out a lot,” freshman Kalla said.
As the due date approaches, National History Day projects are going well for freshmen and many look forward to the end product of all their hard work and are excited for the opportunity to share it with others.