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Huntington Looks Ahead to National History Day 2018

Huntington students are already looking ahead to National History Day 2018.

June 19, 2017

The most successful year that Huntington High School has ever had in the National History Day initiative is now in the record books as teachers and students look ahead to the 2018 program.

Students are already mulling over projects consistent with next year’s national theme of “conflict and compromise.” Those teenagers who are veterans of the history competition will consider topics this summer. Incoming freshmen usually start their work at the beginning of the school year.

This has been a banner year for Huntington in the National History Day movement. Teachers, students and district officials want to keep that momentum as everyone looks ahead.

Huntington junior Aidan Forbes notched a third place national finish in the senior historical paper category at the National History Day finals at the University of Maryland at College Park last week. It’s the highest finish ever achieved by a Huntington student in the national finals.

Mr. Forbes was honored for his paper titled “Larry Flynt: An Unlikely Hero Takes a Stand against Censorship.” He earlier won first place in the New York State competition.

“I am so thrilled for Aidan and this extraordinary accomplishment,” said social studies teacher Lauren Desiderio, who coordinates the district’s National History Day program. “An exceptional writer, Aidan chose a unique topic and wrote a truly compelling paper. While Larry Flynt is considered by many to be a controversial publisher, he is a First Amendment advocate. Aidan's unique topic immediately evoked my personal interest in his paper. He crafted a very convincing and powerful argument that worked perfectly with this year’s theme of ‘Taking a Stand in History.’” 

One of the leading members of Huntington’s Class of 2018, Mr. Forbes has qualified for next year’s National Merit scholarship program. The multi-talented teenager is well on his way to leaving an indelible mark at the high school.

“Aidan is a humble student and even though he was not feeling well and had literally just finished taking his United States History Regents exam in a University of Maryland classroom, he headed to his judging time slot unsure of how his paper would be received and stack up against his competition,” Mrs. Desiderio said. “Without a doubt, Aidan’s paper is frankly one of the best historical research papers I have read. Obviously, I was hopeful that the esteemed judges at the national competition would feel the same. We were ecstatic to learn that he is our first national top three finisher. I am so proud of him.”

Huntington junior Alyssa Befumo also vied in the national championships in Maryland last week. She, too, captured first place in this past spring’s New York State finals for her senior individual documentary category project titled: “The Stonewall Uprising: Taking a Stand against LGBT Inequality.”

“I’m so proud of how much Alyssa accomplished this year with her documentary,” Mrs. Desiderio said. “She has been creating individual documentaries for the National History Day competition since I had her in ninth grade and every year she continues to amaze me. The amount of hours she dedicates to creating and editing her documentaries are countless. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to convince her to compete again next year!” 

Ms. Befumo has enjoyed an outstanding junior year during which she also helped Huntington’s mock trial team reach the Suffolk Sweet 16 round. Her trip to the National History Day finals in Maryland was the proverbial icing on the cake.

“It was amazing to be able to watch Alyssa present her documentary and field questions from the judges,” Mrs. Desiderio said. “Articulate in her responses, Alyssa did not miss a beat and shined as an expert on the Stonewall Riots. Not only were Alyssa’s panel of judges speechless after her presentation, one of the best moments occurred when a competing student from a state down south approached Alyssa to discuss her topic and commended Alyssa for her impressive documentary.  While Alyssa did not make it to the run-off round of competition, it is an absolute honor that she was able to showcase her documentary at the African-American Museum and represent New York State.” 

Contact Mrs. Desiderio (ldesiderio@hufd.edu) for more information about Huntington’s National History Day program.