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March 30, 2015

2015 National History Day After Action Report

Every year National History Day sponsors an educational scholarship contest for young people, middle and high school students (6th through 12th grade). It is a non-profit educational organization that offers academic programs around the world annually for students conducting original research on historical topics of interest. District winners go on to compete at the State level and national winners receive a full-ride scholarship to Case Western Reserve University.

Saturday March 28th, members of Baker Co., 502nd 101st ABN, myself included, volunteered as judges for the District 3 National History Day Competition at Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the goals was to provide young people with a high quality educational experience regardless of the outcome of the competition. The time spent, a helpful, positive interaction with the students, is an integral part of their learning process. Baker Co. participated in judging 3 of the 5 categories. Exhibits - Senior Class: 1Lt. Victor Cabrera, Junior Class: SSgt. Chris Bauer, Written Paper Themes: Pvt. Jared Schiele, and Web Sites – Senior Class, 2Lt. Chris Smith. The other 2, Documentaries and Performances were done at a separate location at CWRU’s Nord Atrium.

It was interesting to see many young bright students that are passionate about learning with regard to people in history whether it be national or world renowned. On this year’s theme "Leadership and Legacy in History", they learn to develop perspective and understanding rather than just bare facts and dates. It is a vital part in educating these young minds on examples of true leadership as they pave their way into society. Just to mention a few of the choices of the persons of interest was "The Legendary Cartoons of Thomas Nast" a very influential figure and cartoonist for Harper's Weekly during the American Civil War. The truly altruistic legacy of Sir Nicholas Winton, the silent savior who rescued 669 Jewish refugee children in Czechoslovakia from Nazi Germany during the eve of WWII. And of course George Washington, the determined patriot of the US revolution.

With several schools competing, the program was divided among many judges who come from different backgrounds within our community. School teachers, doctors, lawyers, and prominent businessmen as well as politicians. Evaluations for the Exhibits, Paper and Website interviews for both senior and juniors were done between 9:15 am to 12:15 pm. Lunch was served then turning in of judging results around noon till 2 pm. Any ties or close results were given run-offs to determine the top 3 winners. Public viewing of the exhibits followed right after the winners were released to the public.

As my second year of volunteering as a judge, it was just as fun as the first. It certainly was a great and rewarding experience. To see such young minds delve into great ideas with people that have influenced our time is very intriguing. It makes you feel proud to have a next generation of citizens who are conscientious about our future by learning about our past and the people that shaped it. Not only did the students gain knowledge and understanding but the judges did as well by interacting with the students about different types of leadership and the legacy in history.

1Lt. Victor Cabrera
B Co., 502nd PIR/101st ABN

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