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National History Day projects at Franklin Regional teach about the past, proper research

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, 1:21 p.m.
Above, several exhibit-board projects at the Franklin Regional Middle School's National History Day celebration on Jan. 29, 2018.
Submitted photo
Above, several exhibit-board projects at the Franklin Regional Middle School's National History Day celebration on Jan. 29, 2018.

From the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 to boosting the American bison population to the creation of a local school district, seventh-graders at Franklin Regional Middle School marked National History Day for the second year by showcasing their research.

“Our hope is that our students will take the skills they learned through the process that is National History Day and apply them through high school and beyond,” said middle-school Principal Andrew Leviski.

The seventh-grade class spent the first semester of the school year reading, researching and analyzing a topic of their choice, based on a specific theme, which this year was “Conflict and Compromise in History.”

Yashvi Rastogi won fourth place in the exhibit board category for his project on Andrew Carnegie and the Homestead Steel Strike. Rastogi said looking back at history is crucial.

“It is a project where you can show someone what you believe and something that you have a passion for,” he said.

Chloe Zucco has a family connection to her first-place exhibit-board project on the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.“I was able to use a book my grandmother wrote about her experience in Chinatown in San Francisco and her mother's immigration to America called ‘ Lemon Drops: A Bittersweet Memoir ,'” Zucco said. “The book gave me a lot of information and I read the Chinese Exclusion Act. It set the scene for my project.”

Alexis Beard chose to research the creation of the Woodland Hills School District, where her father works.

“I've seen a lot of media attention about the creation of the school district and I wanted to learn more about it,” Beard said.

The judging was conducted by representatives from the high school and middle school, the high school's National Honor Society, Heinz History Center, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Department of Education students, La Roche College Department of Education students and professor Kathryn Silvis, Murrysville Public Library, Murrysville Historical Society, and University of Pittsburgh Department of Education instructor Phyllis Sheehy.

Beard said National History Day helped her learn about not just her chosen topic, but about proper research.

“I have never done a project this large before,” she said. “I liked seeing the finished piece and how it all came together.”

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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