Choosing a History Day project can be a daunting task. The idea is to pick someone or a topic that interests you to want to dig deeper. There is also the desire to pursue a project that is different.
Inspired by the NOVA film, they pitched an idea to their teacher Monica Blackshire. The duo wanted to compete in the Junior Group Exhibit with their entry centered on Percy Julian.
Blackshire wasn’t familiar with the scientist. She admitted she had to do some research of her own.
As they worked on researching their project, they needed to obtain real archives. So they decided to contact NOVA for help. They wrote Melanie Wallace, senior series producer. She was ecstatic.
“It made my day! It made my year!” stated Wallace. “This is why we do public television. This is why it is so important. It is all about the mission in education. It is what we strive for.”
Wallace suggested that they contact Llewellyn “Llew” Smith, the director of the film. He had talked with Percy Julian’s children and people who worked with him.
Van and Tatyana’s work paid off. They advanced through the campus, district and regional levels of competition. At the state contest, their project took third place in their category and division. They competed against 44 other exhibits.
According to the young historians, it was “a lot of hard work that paid off.”
“I felt the funders of NOVA ought to know about this,” said Wallace. “Look at the money that you invested in us. You believed in us. You supported public media. You supported NOVA. And now it is having this huge impact on these middle school students in Houston, Texas. That’s why public media matters so much.”
The two Aldine ISD students are ninth graders this year. Tatyana attends Victory Early College High School and Han is at Davis Ninth Grade School.
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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