New York State History Day Students Earn Unprecedented Wins at National History Day Competition

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COOPERSTOWN, NY, June 21, 2007—Six New York State entries in the National History Day competition, held June 10-14 at the University of Maryland in College Park, won several top honors and special awards, earning the state its most wins in a single program year.

“New York State’s success at National History Day this year is unprecedented. We have never won as many awards or placed as well in the rankings before,” remarked Tobi Voigt, New York State History Day Coordinator. “Kudos to our students who spent months conducting research, drawing conclusions, and creating their final projects. They have developed amazing skills that will serve them well in college and in life.”

Forty-six students from across New York State attended the annual competition, and all placed well above average in their categories, which included exhibits, documentaries, performances, and historical papers. Eleven entries qualified for the finals, which narrowed the hundreds of entries to the top 14 in each category.

Top Honors
7th grader James Marlow from Staten Island took home the 1st place gold medal for his Junior Individual Exhibit Willowbrook State School: From Atrocities to Sweeping Reforms. James attends Genesis at Xaverian School in Brooklyn, and participated in History Day for the first time this year.

10th grader Charlotte Burger from Massapequa won the 2nd place silver medal for her Senior Individual Documentary Writing History With Lightning: The Triumph and Tragedy of America's First Blockbuster. Charlotte is no stranger to History Day; she's competed at the National contest several times. In her last year with the program, she is pleased to place Nationally. Look for Charlotte's films at student film festivals all over the country!

Rachel Aguilar from West Nyack wowed audiences and judges alike with her Junior Individual Performance entitled Philippines. She took home the third place bronze medal in her category. Rachel attends Felix Festa Middle School in Rockland County.

Special Awards
Three New York History Day projects won prestigious Special Awards, given to recognize outstanding entries focused on certain subject matter.

8th graders Caitlin Palumbo and Danielle Gordon from Brooklyn were honored with the Ancient Order of Hibernians Special Award that recognizes an outstanding entry on Irish history and heritage. In addition to a large cash prize, the Caitlin and Danielle have been invited to share their Junior Group Performance, entitled Ireland's Daughters as Domestic Servants: The Bridge Between the Tragedy of the Famine and the Triumph of Success in America at the Order's conference in Albany in July.

Sisters Kristie and Kaitlyn Coleman of Brooklyn were awarded the Rachel Carson Centennial Prize that recognizes an outstanding entry on environmental issues. Their Junior Group Exhibit, entitled The Trials and Tribulations of the Riverkeeper's Fight to Protect the Hudson River was also selected as a finalist in the competition.

Cooperstown 10th graders Dieter Ulken and Yale Weiss won the George C. Marshall 20th Century History Award for their Senior Group Exhibit, Airlift Saves a City. Their exhibit focused on the Berlin Airlift, and was also a finalist in their categories.

Top Rankings
Eight additional New York History Day projects placed within the top 12 in the world for their respective categories:

*6th place: Senior Group Documentary: Saved from the Ashes: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Kindertransport by Aliyana Gewirtzman and Jessica Seminelli, Clarkstown South High School, West Nyack, NY
*8th place: Junior Group Exhibit: Trials and Tribulations of the Riverkeeper's Fight to Protect the Hudson River by Kaitlyn & Kristie Coleman, Genesis at Xaverian, Brooklyn, NY
*8th place: Senior Group Performance: Lessons From the Past, Opportunities For the Future: The HIV/AIDS Epidemic by Marianne Jacob, Preeti Kohli, Nandini Venkateswaren, Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, NY
*10th place: Senior Historical Paper: Terence MacSwiney: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hunger Strike by Jason Perlman, Hunter College Campus Schools, New York, NY
*10th place: Senior Group Exhibit: Airlift Saves a City, Dieter Ulken and Yale Weiss, Cooperstown High School, Cooperstown, NY
*11th place: Junior Group Documentary: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Matt Kigler, Jordan Naft, Bruce Rubin, Felix Festa Middle School, West Nyack, NY
*12th place: Senior Historical Paper: Tragedy in Armenia: The Forgotten Genocide by Mattea Cumoletti, Academy of the Holy Name Upper School, Albany, NY
*12th place: Senior Group Exhibit: Tibet and the Dalai Lama: Triumph and Tragedy in the Himalayas by Katie Anania and Kim Leon, Cooperstown High School, Cooperstown, NY

National History Day (NHD) is a nationally acclaimed, yearlong history education program that annually challenges over half a million students and thousands of teachers to ask questions that uncover life-changing answers. On April 11, 1974, National History Day was launched when 129 students from the Cleveland, Ohio area attended a history competition on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.
The revolutionary program was designed to reform and invigorate the teaching and learning of history at the elementary and secondary levels. With initial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National History Day soon became a staple of history education in classrooms throughout the United States. Today, National History Day serves as the model for history and civics education reform. For more information on National History Day, please visit
New York State History Day has been sponsored and coordinated by the New York State Historical Association since 1980. Major funding for the program, made possible by the generous support of Senator James L. Seward, is provided through the New York State Education Department. For more information on New York State History Day, e-mail the State Coordinator at, or visit the New York State History Day web site at

About the New York State Historical Association
The New York State Historical Association is committed to engaging and connecting a broad public audience to New York State’s unique cultural heritage through exhibitions, extensive library collections, statewide educational programs, and publications that provoke, delight, and inspire. Founded in 1899, NYSHA is a private, non-profit, membership-based, educational and cultural institution dedicated to preserving, collecting, and interpreting art and historical artifacts significant to New York State’s rich history and American culture. The Association’s remarkable collections, showcased in the Fenimore Art Museum, comprise some of the best examples of American landscape, history, and genre paintings including seminal works by Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount and Benjamin West; the renown Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a masterpiece collection of more than 800 art objects, representing a broad scope of North American cultures; and one of the nation’s most comprehensive and significant folk art collections. NYSHA’s Research Library holdings include over 80,000 volumes on American, New York State, and local history. For more information on the Association, Fenimore Art Museum, the Research Library, or Membership, please call (607) 547-1400 or visit The Association’s mailing address is P.O. Box 800, 5798 State Hwy. 80, Lake Rd., Cooperstown, NY 13326


For more information or images, please contact:
Christine Liggio/Public Relations Office
New York State Historical Association
Fenimore Art Museum/The Farmers’ Museum
Phone: (607) 547-1472/E-mail:

Press Release Category: 
Program and Event Press Releases
Publication Date: 
June 2007