During the week of June 15-19, 2014 3,000 students from around the world competed in the Kenneth Behring National History Day contest at the University of Maryland. Sixty-one students represented Ohio with 36 projects in 18 categories. Included among them were CCS students, Gabe Moorman, Jack Babet, Thaddeus Barnette, and Alayna Doeringer. The week was a culmination of a year’s worth of research, discovery, and analysis for these students. This year’s theme – Rights and Responsibilities in History – challenged students to think about the rights that citizens are guaranteed, like freedom of the press. With those rights however, come personal responsibilities. Students examined this year’s theme through their original research projects in one of five categories: exhibits, performances, papers, documentaries, and websites.
Visiting The Sites
In addition to the competition, spending five days at nationals provided an opportunity to visit some of the many attractions and historical sites that the Washington D.C. area has to offer. On Monday members of the Babet, Barnette, Doeringer, and Moorman families visited Manassas Junction, the site of the first battle of the Civil War, the Pentagon, MLK, FDR, and World War II Memorials. Some of us were also able to visit the National Cathedral, Arlington Cemetery and even take in a Washington Nationals baseball game.
Out of the 36 projects representing Ohio, 8 placed in the top 14 in the nation. On Tuesday, Gabe Moorman presented her exhibit “Oberlin Wellington Rescue: A Time When Black Men Had No Rights White Men Were Bound to Respect”, and answered questions from the judges. Reflecting on her NHD experience this year Gabe said, “NHD was a long grueling process, from researching my topic to spending long nights creating my exhibit, but I wouldn’t change a single moment and would take part in it again in a heartbeat.”
Jack Babet, Thaddeus Barnette, and Alayna Doeringer, also presented their group documentary entitled, “The Pentagon Papers: Patriotism or Espionage” and answered questions from the judges on Tuesday afternoon. Later that evening they learned that they had advanced to the top fourteen of national finalists, qualifying them to compete with the other 13 national finalists the next day. At the awards ceremony, Jack, Thad, and Alayna were recognized twice for their exceptional project. They were awarded the outstanding entry for Ohio’s Senior Division and earned 4th place in the nation for their senior group documentary.
When asked to reflect on her experience at nationals, Alanya said, “At the closing awards ceremony, seeing students from different states and countries parading around the arena was amazing. Only about .5 % of 600,000 students that participate in national history day make it to nationals. Making into the top 4 was an honor. To be a part of that was an amazing experience!” Jack and Thad, after finishing their 3rd trip to nationals, both expressed, “National History Day 2014 was an unforgettable experience. Not only did we get to meet students from Ohio and many other states, we were also able to enjoy projects from every state. This was the first time one of our projects advanced to the second round. Ending up in 4th place out of 98 other documentaries was an honor. We appreciate the work that Mary Bezbatchenko, Ohio state coordinator for NHD, put in to help all the projects, as well as the help Mr. Demchak gave us to make our project the best it could be.”
Congratulations Jack, Thad, Alayna, and Gabe for your extraordinary efforts, from digging into library archives to seeking interviews with experts on your topic. You created superb presentations and did an amazing job representing Christian Community School.
At CCS, we prioritize two complementary values: strong academics and godly character. One without the other produces either knowledge without virtue, which only feeds the ego, or virtue without knowledge, which leads to poverty.
A small school like CCS, with no government intrusion, has maximum freedom to design a course of study that satisfies first of all, the parents, and secondly, the students themselves. How amazingly different that sounds today!
The CCS Graduating Class of 2014 proved to all of us that Christian education of this kind works! They are strong in intellect, have a great work ethic, and their personal integrity is very high. Their teachers invested a lot of themselves in these young disciples, and the fruit of their efforts is apparent to all.
The CCS experience is available to all Christian families seeking a healthy balance between sound academics, character formation, and authentic spirituality centered on Jesus Christ.