Huntington Local

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Top honors for Stimson history students

(Credit: Huntington Local)

Amelia Goodman and Kate Mallinson, seventh-graders from Stimson Middle School, took home New York State's top honors and placed 5th in the National History Day Competition.

Following months of intensive research, and after successful showings at district- and state-level competitions, Amelia Goodman and Kate Mallinson, seventh-grade students at Stimson Middle School in South Huntington, presented their video documentary project at the annual National History Day competition, held at the University of Maryland.

The students’ documentary related the moving story of the SS St. Louis. The St. Louis was a German oceanliner that left Germany in the spring of 1939 with almost 1000 Jewish refugees on board. When the ship arrived at its destination, the Cuban government revoked its permission to land. Persecuted at home and unwanted abroad, the refugees on board the St. Louis would have been forced to return to Europe and the certain death that awaited them in Germany. But after learning of the plight of the stranded refugees, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands agreed to accept them. Unfortunately, after German forces occupied Western Europe in 1940, many St. Louis passengers and other Jewish refugees who had entered those countries were caught by the Nazis.

Goodman and Mallinson’s documentary was named the Outstanding Junior Entry for New York State and earned them fifth place in the Junior Group Documentary Division out of approximately 100 entries from across the nation. The students placed highest out of any junior division entry from New York State and won the New York State Award.

Each fall more than half a million students nationwide begin the yearlong National History Day program, competing in a series of history contests in their local districts and states. The top students in each category are selected for participation in the national contest. Participating students choose their own topics of study based on the theme “Conflict and Compromise in History.” To carry out their research, National History Day students review historic documents and artifacts, conduct oral histories, search the Internet for information, and travel to historic sites. They present their work using a variety of media, including museum-type exhibits, video documentaries, original performances, and traditional research papers.

More than 300 historians and other education professionals evaluate the students’ work at the national competition. This year, a total of $150,000 in scholarships were awarded at the national awards ceremony, and approximately 100 students took home cash prizes of between $250 and $5,000 for superior work in particular categories of judging.

The South Huntington School District extends its heartiest congratulations to Goodman and Mallinson for their diligent work in creating a fine piece of historical scholarship

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