Rahul and Emma Shine at National History Day Finals!

On Thursday, June 13, officials from National History Day (NHD) presented the awards for the national finals of the 2019 National History Day Contest, held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Over a half-million students entered the competition late last year, and over 3,000 of them advanced through the regional and state rounds. Competitors represented 57 affiliate members, including every state, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and international schools in South Korea, South Asia, and China.  The contest required students to create themed research-based projects in one of five categories as individuals or group members: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites. Only the top two entries in each category from each state or affiliate then went on to the national contest. The 2019 theme was Triumph and Tragedy.

The Wheatley School was represented at the national level by two students:

  • Rahul Ajmera with his exhibit The Real Housewives of the Lower East Side: The 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott
  • Emma Melnikov, who presented her entry in the performance category with A Murder to Make the Masses Seen:  The Tragic Romanov Fall Paving the Way for Bolshevik Triumph.

This was Rahul’s first time competing at the national level; it was Emma’s second trip to the elite competition.

In order to create projects, students engaged in months of historical research using primary sources found in archives and museums, books, and interviews.  Rahul and Emma also spent hours translating documents from Yiddish and Russian in order to accurately understand their topics. Both students were supported in their research by their teachers, Andrew Ardito, Courtney Clarke, Pat Clarke, and Dr. Scott Eckers, and their school library media specialist Jo Beth Roberts

Rahul Ajmera won 4th place in the nation, in addition to winning the “Outstanding New York Affiliate Award” sponsored by the National Park Service, and the Immigration History special award, a monetary award, sponsored by the Lombardo family.

Both Emma and Rahul have much to be proud of.  The Wheatley School congratulates them both on their tremendous achievements!

[Thank you to Jo Beth Roberts for the write-up!]

Wheatley Students Compete in Long Island Regional History Day!

On Sunday, 31 March 31, 43 students from Willets Road and The Wheatley School participated in Long Island History Day at Hofstra University, presenting 30 historical research projects in a variety of formats, including paper, website, exhibit, performance, documentary, either in a group or as an individual project. Long Island History Day is the regional contest of National History Day, a contest that encourages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice, through the lens of a specific theme. This year the theme is Tragedy and Triumph in History.

Students who are advancing to the state competition at Cooperstown on 29 April are:

  • Ashley Vincenzo: 1st place, ​Sr. Individual Website—The 1953 Iran Coup: a Tenuous Western triumph, a Significant Global Tragedy
  • Rahul Ajmera: 2nd place​, Sr. Individual Exhibit—Got Beef? The Women’s New York Kosher Meat Boycott of 1902
  • Emma Melnikov​: 1st place​, Sr. Individual Performance—A Murder to Make the Masses Seen: The Tragic Romanov Fall Paving the Way for Bolshevik Triumph
  • Ben Casella​: ​3rd place​, Jr. Individual Documentary—The Space Shuttle Program-A Cosmic Triumph with a Tragic End
  • Aliza Virji​: 4th place, Junior Individual Website—Operation Babylift-The Triumph of Enduring Vietnamese Culture after the Tragedy of War

Additional recognition (but do not compete at Cooperstown)

  • Garima Jain: 3rd place​, Jr. Individual Performance—The Triumph and tragedy of the Warsaw Ghetto and Uprising
  • Jason Koty: Sr. Paper—Muhammad Ali: The Ring of Triumph and Tragedy was recognized with the African American History Award sponsored by the African American Museum of Nassau County
  • Frederick Lin​: Sr. Paper—The Broderick Terry Dual-American History Award sponsored by the Huntington Historical Society

Additional student participants include: Derek Zhang, Annelise Belle, Amir Agarwal, Brenda Zhong, Mahdi Bhalloo, Riya Mittle, Emma Rosenberg, Eliana Duffy, Brenden Resnick, Ansh Jhaveri, Eric Chu, Sonia Patel, Grant Callahan, Skylar Blechner,Emma Novak, Lana Cale, Jessica Shaw, Kayla Rogan, Amelia Crosby, Tobey Hirsch, Ely Hahami, Christian Azzara, Ben Krittman, Aaron Raja, Rahul Dawar, Maahir Kasliwal, Allison Hacket, Anika Chabria, Julia Savy,Daniel Dayter, Kieran Laffey, Priscilla Shin, Benjamin Friedrich, Lauren Tavolacci, Amanda Werney and Skye Blau.

The students were supported in their endeavors by their dedicated teachers Patrick Shannahan, Ronald Roaldson, Jerry Pokrywka, Diane Ilkiw (​Judge​), Dr. Scott Eckers
(Judge), ​Courtney Clarke ​(Judge),​ Gena Topping, Andrew Ardito ​(Judge), ​Matt Haig, Mike Haig, Dr. John Staudt​ (Long Island History Day Academic Coordinator and Judge), ​Jo Beth Roberts (​Long Island History Day Academic Board member and Judge Captain).

[Thanks to Jo Beth Roberts for the write-up and Scott Eckers for some of the photos.]


Students Compete in New York History Day!

On Sunday, 22 April, thirteen EWSD regional winners of Long Island History Day traveled to Cooperstown, New York to participate in the New York State History Day competition.  Their participation in this competition was as a result of their recognition at the Long Island Regional History Day in March. The contestants spent the weeks between the two contests tweaking their websites, documentaries, and exhibits and worked hard to present their research to teachers, historians, and archivists at the state level.

Students were accompanied by Mr. Eckers, Mr. Shanahan, and Ms. Ilkiw.  Between the initial interviews and the run-offs, the students enjoyed a beautiful spring day near the shores of Otsego Lake, visiting the Farmers’ Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Wheatley students competing in the State Competition included:

Senior Individual Exhibit

  • Rahul Ajmera: The 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike: A Successful Compromise

Junior Group Website

  • Maia Cale and Janice Zeng: Women’s Road to Enlightenment Coeducation

Junior Group Documentary

  • Lauren Hackett, Charlotte Iannone, Victoria Potrapeluk and Jaina Shah: Helen Hunt Jackson

Having placed in the top two of their category in Cooperstown, Maia Cale and Janice Zeng (Junior Group Website) will be advancing to the National History Day finals in Maryland in June! These Wheatley students will be accompanied by Grant Callahan and Benjamin Casella from Willets Road.

Congratulations to all of the students who competed!

[Thanks to Mr. Eckers for some of the write-up and the photos!]



Wheatley Students Compete in Long Island Regional History Day

On Sunday, 18 March, over 730 students from across Long Island descended on Hofstra University to compete in the regional round of the 2018 National History Day competition. Success in the regional round merited an invitation to compete in New York State History Day in Cooperstown later this spring.

Wheatley was heavily involved in this year’s competition, with 42 students participating in the event. Of course, these students were supported by the efforts of our tireless faculty. Dr. John Staudt served as the Academic Coordinator of the entire event, and Dr. Staudt, Mr. Scott Eckers and Ms. Jo Beth Roberts served as judges. Of course, the students also received the support of the 8th and 11th grade Social Studies teachers: Mr. Scott Eckers, Ms. Cindy Schwartz, Mr. Pat Clarke, Mr. Michael Haig, Mrs. Gena Topping, Dr. John Staudt and Mr. Matt Haig. Mr. Paul Chisholm provided support for the exhibits and Ms. Kim Kelleher and Ms. Joanna Schrager provided technical support for the websites!

Junior Group Documentary

  • Lauren Hackett, Charlotte Iannone, Victoria Potrapeluk and Jaina Shah: Helen Hunt Jackson
  • Ian Kim, Siddhant Jain, Brandon Rokhsar and Kate Seo: Japanese American Internment
  • Daniel Solomon and Kavin Shukla: Treaty of Versailles: A Franco-German Conflict

Junior Group Exhibit

  • Ryan Doan and Andrew Kim: Mistreatment of Native Americans and the Treaty of Echota

Junior Group Website

  • Maia Cale and Janice Zeng: Women’s Road to Enlightenment Coeducation
  • Hasan Suleman and Japesh Shah: The Homestead Steel Strike: Owners Conflicts, Workers Compromises

 Junior Individual Documentary

  • Emilia Keys: Nellie Bly: Daredevil Reporter Paving the Way for Women

Junior Individual Exhibit

  • Anushka Shorewala: The Dred Scott Decision
  • Krittika Prajapati: Power of Unity: Conflict and Compromise at the Yalta Conference

Junior Individual Performance

  • Kajal Kapoor: Gay Rights

Junior Individual Website

  • Justin Wong: The Social Security Reformation of 1983

Junior Historical Paper

  • Marco Garcia: Seward’s Folly
  • Emma Pak: Reunification at an Arm’s Reach

Senior Group Documentary

  • Anthony Giunta, Jacob Ribotsky, Mahesh Pitchayan, Vedant Singh: Levittown
  • Adam Aldad and Frederick Lin: The 2007-2008 Financial Conflict: Compromisation of National and Financial Security

Senior Group Exhibit

  • Farah Hasan, Kristen Leong and Tiffany Jiao: The Berlin Wall: A Construction of Defeat

Senior Group Website

  • Dustin Wong and Kenton Wu: Nast v Tweed

Senior Individual Documentary

  • Ansh Jhaveri: A Conflict Between The Spread of Communism and Democratic Ideals
  • Brenden Resnick: Battle of Matewan

Senior Individual Exhibit

  • Rahul Ajmera: The 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike: A Successful Compromise

Senior Individual Website

  • Manan Shukla: The Conflict and Compromise between the People’s Liberties and the Government’s Role in Security

Senior Historical Paper

  • Camellia Ye: The Octopus, the CIA, and Bananas: The Red and Yellow Explosion in Guatemala
  • John Scudero: Compromising with Free Expression: A Conflict of Liberty and Security
  • Brittney Guerra: The National Socialist Party of America v. The Village of Skokie: Right to Free Speech

At the end of a long day of judging, Wheatley students took home a number of awards:

Senior Individual Exhibit, 1st Place

  • Rahul Ajmera: The 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike: A Successful Compromise

Junior Group Website, 2nd Place

  • Maia Cale and Janice Zeng: Women’s Road to Enlightenment Coeducation

Junior Group Documentary, 2nd Place

  • Lauren Hackett, Charlotte Iannone, Victoria Potrapeluk and Jaina Shah: Helen Hunt Jackson

Thanks to Mr. Eckers, we have a few photos from the event!

Students Find Success at New York History Day in Cooperstown!

Based on their performance at the Long Island Regional History Day competition, nine of our students competed in the New York State History Day competition at Cooperstown last month. They departed on Sunday, 23 April and returned on Monday evening, 23 April. Students were accompanied by our very own Jo Beth Roberts and Willets Road faculty members Patrick Shanahan and Diane Ilkiw.

The topics presented were:

Junior Historical Paper

  • Victor Li: Florence Kelley: Taking a Stand for Women & Children

Junior Group Documentary

  • Joseph Doria, Jack Keys and Neil Shah: Lewis Hine & His Stand Against Child Labor in America

Junior Performance

  • Emma Melnikov: Power of Voice: Sojourner Truth-Taking a Stand for Women & African Americans

Junior Individual Website

  • Layla Jarrahy: Alice Paul: Taking a Stand to Win Suffrage for Women

Senior Historical Paper

  • Ananya Bansal: Lewis Hine: Standing in the Shadows, Casting Light on a World of Darkness

Senior Group Website

  • Roxane Ghadami and Ally Wang: Nat Turner: Freedom Fighter or Murderer

At the end of the State judging, Emma Melnikov earned 2nd place! Additionally, Joseph Doria, Jack Keys and Neil Shah earned 1st place. Finally, Ananya Bansal earned 3rd place recognition.

Because of their top two finishes, Emma, Joseph, Jack and Neil have earned the right to represent New York State in the National History Day finals in Maryland next month! Congratulations to all of the competitors!

[Thanks to Jo Beth Roberts and Susan Checkla for the photos.]

Anya Chabria Recognized by Board of Education for her National History Day Work!

At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, Anya Chabria (8th Grade) was recognized for her outstanding work in last year’s National History Day competition. As part of this competition, Anya

Willets Road’s amazing librarian, Diane Ilkiw, and social studies teacher, Patrick Shanahan, introduced Anya to the attendees. Part of their introduction is as follows:

Anya Chabria was recognized as having the best historical research paper in all of New York State, not only among her age group, but all students in grades 6-8. By being awarded the best paper in NYS, Anya represented the East Williston School District and New York State at the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland in June of 2016.

Encompassing the theme of Exploration, Encounter and Exchange, Anya’s paper examined in great detail the exchange between American and French officials in moving toward the Louisiana Purchase.

Anya should be commended for her willingness to devote her time and energy to scrolling through historical archives and numerous resource documents to develop and construct a concise research paper about an extremely complex topic. Anya devoted hours before and after school, many lunch periods and most of her free time in accessing sources to develop her paper. In fact, in order to translate an original primary source document written in “Olde French” Anya requested the assistance of Mr. Jean-François Henley at Wheatley. He was able to translate the document which added great significance to her thesis. The judges at both the regional and state competitions remarked at the depth of research and variety of sources contained in her paper.

Congratulations to Anya for her success last year, and thanks to the Willets Road faculty for working so well with her!

Ashley Vincenzo’s NHD Research Recognized at BOE Monthly Meeting!

At Monday’s monthly Board of Education meeting, Wheatley 9th Grader Ashley Vincenzo was recognized for her outstanding work in last year’s National History Day competition. As a result of her strong performance at the New York State Competition in Cooperstown last April, Ashley earned the right to present her work at the National Competition at the University of Maryland in June.

Competing in the “Junior Individual Website” categories against hundreds of the top projects from across the country, Ashley just missed being advanced to the run-off round of the finals competition. Ashley’s research involved the Cuban Missile Crisis. The site can be viewed through the following link: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Mrs. Jo Beth Roberts, our librarian extraordinaire, introduced Ashley at the Board of Education meeting.