Students Feeling the Pressure of NHD Deadline

With National History Day approaching on February 25th, North Lakes Academy students are starting to feel the pressure as they realize it’s not as easy as they thought it would be to put a project together at the last minute.

Eric Nelson , social studies teacher and NHD coach, remains positive about the projects and efforts this year. He wants at least one student from North Lakes makes it to the national level of the competition in Washington D.C. in May.

Only a limited amount of people can go to regionals, state, and nationals; NLA students are doing their best to try to be among them. One quarter of students in each category can go to Regionals, a quarter of THAT quarter go to State and a quarter of that go on to Nationals.  “It hasn’t happened before, but I have a good feeling about this year,” Nelson said.

The stakes are high for NLA students regardless of whether they reach the next level of competition. At NLA, the project is worth 60% of students’ final Semester 2 history grade; students must pass history to graduate from high school.

One can imagine the stress this creates: poster boards are starting to run low, printers aren’t working, and students are going into stress mode. Over half of the students interviewed said they have already had at least one breakdown. Two of them were Noah Nei (10) and Hannah Quarnstrom (10).

“I have no time to work on it during the week unless I stay up until 11pm because we have a basketball game almost every day, and then I work on weekends,” Nei said.  He came close to a breakdown over the weekend of February 7th, which continued into the following week.  He said the script for his documentary on Jackie Robinson “sounded horrible,” so he deleted it and started the whole thing over.

Quarnstrom said her breakdown came during the last week in January, a result of trying to narrate her documentary on the Titanic. She needed iMovie or something similar to it to record her script, but iMovie is only on Apple products.  She couldn’t find a similar device or app to use on her PC.

“I was almost tempted to drive to Apple and buy a computer so I could use iMovie for the narration for my documentary!” she said. Quarnstrom later figured out how to record on her own device. 

People may be struggling and having their breaking moments but, as Nelson would put it, “the more you struggle, the better you learn!” History Day is a chance for us all to learn something new. Yes, it has its lows, but the highs are worth so much more. Stop complaining about struggling and stressing and start learning!

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