For Immediate Release
Date: April 3, 2024

Michael
O'Day
Public Affairs Officer

706-715-9683

Triumph at the Crossroads of History

Faith Middle School's Journey to Victory

A group of 6th-grade students clinched 1st place at the Regional National History Day (NHD) competition

This March, a tale of dedication, perseverance, and historical inquiry unfolded at Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Faith Middle School at Fort Liberty. Spearheaded by Ms. Lisa Vitrella and Ms. Adrianna Bivens, teachers at the school, a group of 6th-grade students clinched 1st place at the Regional National History Day (NHD) competition with their insightful website project titled "The National Women's Rights Convention.”

"National History Day offers students an opportunity to investigate topics and genres they would otherwise never be able to explore," Vitrella said. "NHD projects allow students to choose topics that interest them, encouraging student agency while also promoting student collaboration, cooperation, and communication. Students are able to dig into resources they rarely touch to research their topic and support their claims."

Held at LaGrange College on March 8th, the event was not just a competition but a celebration of intellectual curiosity and academic excellence. Vitrella and Bivens, known for their philosophy of encouraging students to "think higher, feel deeper," worked across all grades, fostering a culture of collaborative exploration and relentless pursuit of knowledge. They guided the students through the rigorous process of creating projects that showcased their academic skills and their capacity to engage deeply with historical material.

A group of 6th-grade students clinched 1st place at the Regional National History Day (NHD) competition

The students' journey was challenging and educational, extending beyond the classroom walls. "I faced challenges that made me want to quit, but I didn't," recounted Maeley J., a student participant, highlighting the resilience and support system that defined their experience. Kynleigh O.W. echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the unforgettable nature of this collective endeavor and the variety of skills they honed along the way.

From "Penicillin: The Mold that Saved Lives" by the 7th graders to the 8th graders' explorations of gunpowder and the arts, each project reflected a unique aspect of history. These achievements underscore the DoDEA's commitment to academic rigor and creative exploration.

As Faith Middle School's champions prepare for the state competition and potentially the national stage at the University of Maryland, their story stands as a testament to the power of education to inspire, transform, and transcend. It’s not just about winning a competition; it's a narrative of empowerment, resilience, and the enduring relevance of history and young minds.

"We often hear it said that learning history is vital to ensure we don't repeat past mistakes. And while this is true, the significance of history extends far beyond this," remarked Ms. Jessica Arriola, a 6-12 Social Studies ISS. "History is crucial in helping us comprehend the journey of our past, revealing the evolution of societies, cultures, and civilizations over time. It's about drawing lessons from our ancestors' errors and achievements to guide our present and future decisions. Engaging with history fosters civic involvement and nurtures empathy and a broadened perspective. Moreover, it's foundational in honing critical literacy skills, including sourcing, corroboration, contextualization, and close reading, which are indispensable for navigating the complexities of our world."

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