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Berner Student A State Winner In History Day Contest

Berner Student A State Winner In History Day Contest

Ricky C, an eighth grader at Berner Middle School, represented the Massapequa School District in the National History Day contest at the University of Maryland from June 9-13. His research paper was recognized at the local and state level, which advanced him to the national competition.

Berner eighth graders complete projects for National History Day every year. This year’s theme was “Triumphs and Tragedies in History.” Students had to select a historical event from a list to research. They could present the information in one of five ways — a research paper, an exhibit, a website, a documentary video or a performance.

Ricky had one of three research papers that the district entered into the Long Island competition, which was held at Hofstra University in March. After finishing second, Ricky advanced to the state level and went to Cooperstown in April. With a top two finish there, he was invited to the national competition.

Research papers must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words. Ricky’s paper was titled “Japan’s Path to Modernization: A History of Triumphs and Tragedies.” He used eight primary sources and 17 secondary sources to tell the story of Japan's development from a traditional, isolated island nation to a world power through the 19th and 20th centuries.

Ricky was joined by Dr. Brian Trapani, curriculum associate for social studies, at the state competition, and by his social studies teacher, Jennifer Bilich, at the national contest.

“What made Ricky's paper stand out is that, in addition to being so well developed, it was so well researched,” Dr. Trapani said. “His attention to detail in writing this paper was extraordinary. Including, with the support of the Berner Middle School librarians, the translation and citation of the Japanese Constitution of 1868. For an eighth grader to create such a sophisticated research paper is an amazing accomplishment for Ricky.”