Student projects explore history’s newsmakers

April 9, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Liberty High School freshman Tania Nambo-Escobar could literally talk for hours about the history of Che Guevara.

“I love presenting about Che Guevara in general,” she said. “Ask me a question and, whether you like it or not, I will give you a full speech about it.”

Nambo-Escobar knows a lot about the subject, after she spent months researching and putting together an exhibit to enter into the local History Day competition.

At the end of March, Nambo-Escobar and a handful of her classmates took their projects to the regional competition at Green River Community College. Eight student projects did well enough to advance to the state contest held at Bellevue College in May.

Before they do that, though, they will share their projects in front of an audience filled with like-minded history fanatics at the Issaquah History Museums’ History Day Highlights on April 13.

“History Day is a really great way for kids to connect with history,” Liberty High School librarian JoAnn Olsson said. “Adults just love it when they can see kids being passionate about history.”

While Nambo-Escobar’s project is in the form of a tri-fold exhibit, other students made websites and documentaries.

Liberty juniors Nathan Sjoholm and Aditya Seshadri created a 10-minute documentary about Henry Ford. The students focused less on Ford’s contribution to the modern day assembly line or his company’s famous Model T, and more on his work for social change.

“When we chose Henry Ford, the reasoning behind it was everybody has an idea of how he became an industrial juggernaut,” Seshadri said. “So, we wanted to go toward a different angle, and the angle we were going for was, socially, what things did he affect? He was huge on labor reform and employee goodwill.”

Sjoholm and Seshadri spent more than 50 hours working to collect more than 90 academic and primary sources for the documentary. The work paid off, as the duo earned first place in the group documentary category at the History Day regional competition.

“One of my personal goals for this documentary was to make viewers, if they were to watch the whole thing, come away with goosebumps, almost,” Sjoholm said.

Other projects that will be showcased at the special History Day Highlights event include student-made websites about the Brown v. Board of Education case, the establishment of Israel and the Montgomery (Ala.) bus boycott.

All of the projects must have a modern angle, showing how events in the past impact what’s happening in the present.

“It makes kids look back at our history to sort of answer questions,” Olsson said. “It’s a really great way to kind of hook them into social studies and what goes on around the world.”

Sjoholm and Seshadri’s project shows how modern innovators, such as Costco founder Jim Sinegal, applied some of Ford’s social principles, while Nambo-Escobar’s shows what the proliferation of Guevara’s image means in today’s society.

“I like history a lot,” Nambo-Escobar said. “I find it very interesting, just what happened in the past and how sometimes we keep on making the same mistakes.”

If you go

History Day Highlights

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 13

Issaquah Train Depot

150 First Ave. N.E.

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