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LaSalle Students Place First in National History Day Regional Competition

March 30, 2013

by Laura Kirker

Two students from LaSalle School on Western Avenue landed first place in a regional contest celebrating National History Day and next month advance to a state competition in Cooperstown. Five students from LaSalle participated this year, which is the school’s sixth year in the competition.

The project, on the Stonewall Rebellion, was completed by students Jordan and Zach, who attend the alternative school for boys in grades 7 through 12. 

Boys that have not been thriving in the traditional school setting because of academic or behavioral problems enter the LaSalle program in hope to achieve academic success and better coping skills.

“When I came into teaching, and as a history teacher I had thought that wherever I ended up that I wanted to do National History Day,” said Jerald Hensler, a Social Studies teacher and history day coordinator. He advise the school’s student sentence and suggested implementing the competition when he joined LaSalle for the 2007-2008 school year.

National History Day is an American academic competition focusing on history for students in grades 6-12. Each year, more than half a million students submit entries as individuals or in a groups in one of five categories-documentaries, exhibit, paper, performance or website. Students then compete in a series of contests, including at the regional and state levels, and proceed to the National Contest. A part of National History Day Competition is underwritten by the History Channel. This year’s theme is Turning Points in History.

History Day Coordinator

Jerald Hensler, History Day Coordinator

Hensler has said that LaSalle’s students have had success in the competition in the past. Current senior at LaSalle, Jordan also made it to states in 2011. His interactive model on Rwandan Genocide won him the Extracurricular Award two years ago. This year Jordan’s project group project on the Stonewall Rebellion portraying the beginning of the LGBT movement.

After graduation, Jordan has plans to go to college for either chemical dependency counseling, disability studies or theater arts. He wants to return to help Hensler and LaSalle students with their National History Day projects in the future.
“I’m a very outspoken person so I tend to dominate a lot whenever I’m having a conversation with somebody,”

Assistant Day Services Director

Scott Hartman

Jordan said.

LaSalle is not a traditional school. Assistant Day Services Director, Scott Hartman said LaSalle focuses on the positive rather than the negative and they follow a district wide program, positive behavioral intervention supports.
“It’s different and they want to get back to what they see as real public school, but as time goes on and they begin to experience success here, they change their mind set and a lot of them are saying I’d rather graduate from here than return, because they see successes here that they’ve never really had previously,” said Hartman.
The State Competition takes place Monday, April 29, 2013 in Cooperstown. The National Competition takes place June 9th-13th in College Park Maryland. -30-


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