We have finished our campaign and, thanks to donors who preferred to contribute directly via check, have raised more than $6,200 for this initiative. Many thanks to all our generous donors. If you'd like to send a check to fund other aspects of the program, please visit our website http://www.nhdphilly.org/info/support.htm
It’s hard to do outstanding work when your school can’t even afford to buy needed supplies. That’s why Philadelphia-area libraries, archives, museums, and concerned citizens are banding together to make it possible for hundreds of Philly kids to participate in the Philadelphia regional competition of National History Day (NHDPhilly for short). You can help us to make sure that any student who wants to participate has the supplies to do a quality project.
Let us tell you a little bit about the program, the need, and the impact.
National History Day -- It's More Than a Competition
Each year, over 800,000 middle and high school students and tens of thousands of teachers in American schools in the U.S. and abroad participate in National History Day, a year-long educational program that culminates in a national contest every June. Students compete in a local (regional) contest. The winners move on to a state competition. Those winners advance to the national competition in Washington, where they compete for cash awards and college scholarships.
National History Day is a highly regarded academic program with a track record for improving student and teacher achievement. At a White House ceremony, it received of one of our nation’s highest honors, the 2011 National Humanities Medal.
Along the way, all students gain important twenty-first century skills in critical thinking, analysis, writing, and communication. They take charge of their experience by choosing their own topics on a broad theme -- this year’s theme is “Rights and Responsibilities.” Then, they conduct first-hand historical research and produce their projects in a format they choose to match their passions -- documentary, exhibit, essay, performance, or website.
View this student-produced documentary on Loving vs Virginia -- a winner at the 2013 statewide competition!
National History Day introduces both students and their teachers to important cultural and art assets in their communities, where they engage curators at museums, libraries and archives as fellow researchers. What's more, they experience the satisfaction of academic achievement in a positive, upbeat, high-energy atmosphere in the company of their peers.
The Philadelphia regional competition (NHDPhilly), held each March since 2005 at the National Constitution Center, brings together close to a thousand students from across the City who compete -- as individuals or as groups -- with other students or teams in grades 6-12. Students spend a full-day presenting, viewing other presentations, and exploring the National Constitution Center and other partnering sites, including the National Museum of American Jewish History, local NPR/PBS affiliate WHYY, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
The winners in each category advance to the statewide competition at Millersville University, and -- if they win there -- to the national competition at the University of Maryland. For inner-city Philadelphia students, in particular, National History Day is often their first taste of campus life.
The Philadelphia program is supported by a group of more than 40 cultural institutions, led by the National Archives at Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia History Museum, the Union League Heritage Center, and by several corporate donor partners; but there is a need for additional support for vital program components. For more information on the program and its partners, visit http://www.nhdphilly.org . To view the list of 2013 program supporters, click here.
The financial plight of the School District of Philadelphia has been the topic of national news. Our schools and teachers are doing their best to provide educational opportunities with tight budgets and limited staffing, but the school district’s resource gap will become a student achievement gap without help.
That’s where you come in. We’ve established this Indiegogo campaign to help provide vital student project supplies for the NHDPhilly program.
Philadelphia public school teachers are struggling to supply their classrooms with basic supplies and cannot afford the "luxury" of presentation boards and other supplies for their National History Day students. Students may also need assistance with fees for photocopying or acquiring images and other materials.
Average cost per student: $25.
Total needed --- at least 200 three-panel presentation boards (as many as we can get!), plus a fund for paper, markers, glue, and photocopies at cultural institutions, together with writable CDs and DVDs for websites and documentaries = $6,000
There are other program needs (see below). Any surplus funds will help with other program costs, including competition supplies, student transportation, and registration and lodging support for students who advance to the statewide or national competitions.
Case Study: From Bullets to Bullet Points
Exploring the Ponce Massacre, March 1923
Norma Serrano, Crystal Lugo, Eilsaul Davila, Noemays Figueroa, Yessenia Cordero
Julia de Burgos Middle School
Pictured here: the Julia de Burgos students and their project
A few years ago, five six-graders at de Burgos Middle School explored an aspect of history from their families’ region using Spanish language archives. Their project received a first place award at the regional competition and superior and excellent scores at the PA State Finals. Here’s what they learned:
“The government that the United States had placed in power (in Puerto Rico) opened fire on over 1,000 unarmed women, children, and many young and old men who dared to protest the jailing of 9 of their fellow countrymen. One hundred fifty adults and children were wounded, 19 killed. Remembering The Ponce Massacre and the spirit of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos gives all of us the courage, strength, and hope to continue our fight to do what is right. He tried his best, spending his entire life trying to help the people of Puerto Rico. He gave the people hope for their future. He never gave up and he never gave in. He did the right thing. He set a great example and his words remind all of us to stand up for freedom everywhere.”
The accomplishment of these students is all the more remarkable, given the odds they faced at school.
Julia de Burgos Middle School, now closed, was located in one of the most impoverished and dangerous areas of Philadelphia. Over 90% of its students received free lunches. The school did not have evening events due to the level of violence in the community -- mostly shoot-outs and rapes. Drug selling was rampant; crack houses and prostitution were commonplace. Lockdowns were sometimes needed to protect the students from murders just outside the building. At least half of the students are fatherless -- losing their fathers to death, abandonment, or incarceration.
In this inhospitable learning environment, NHD taught valuable lessons to these students. Said one parent of her son, "He learned how to be more responsible. It's the first time he put his focus on something. He learned that if you put your effort into something you can get far."
"This process, this historical journey, at least in the case of my students, has transformed them into more confident human beings. They have become historical storytellers and learned that there are people in the world that are interested in their interpretation and presentation," explained teacher Francine Gold.
Your gift can help a team like this one to succeed and go on to experience campus life at the statewide competition, as they did.
In a school district where 84% of students are from low-income families and where the high school graduation rate is only 61%, NHDPhilly introduces participants to a pathway for success and untold future opportunities. Assessment data shows that National History Day students consistently outperform their peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well. They also outperform students who primarily focus in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Students who demonstrate capabilities in critical thinking, creative problem-solving and communication have a far greater chance of being employed in the workforce than their counterparts without those skills. Consequently, participation in NHDPhilly gives Philadelphia students the skills to be workplace-ready and to compete in the global economy.
In addition to a path to academic and career success, students get to represent their city as “official ambassadors” and build strong connections to the cultural and arts community. Each year the Mayor honors the students at City Hall and recognizes their accomplishments. The relationships that students develop among themselves and with the broader community, as they do their project work, have led to internships at community organizations.
Many NHDPhilly students also get their first exposure to a higher education setting through their residency at higher education institutions along the way. This is especially critical for low-income, at-risk students, whose experiences outside their neighborhoods are so limited.
Give the Gift of History -- And Get a Chance at a History Grab Bag
When you make a contribution to the campaign, the best gift you get is the knowledge that you are making it possible for students to produce high-quality projects. But you also get a chance to get a little history yourself! Our supporters will be entered in a drawing to receive one of the history baskets listed at the right, with valuable books, DVDs, and history experiences donated by our partners.
What happens to the money if we don’t meet our goal?
What happens to additional money if we exceed our goal?
(and what about those history grab bags???)
If this campaign falls short of its goal, NHDPhilly will still be able to support student requests for supplies, but may not be able to meet all needs. And we’ll still be drawing names from our donors and awarding the history grab bags.
If we exceed our goal, the additional funding will allow us to be more generous in our support for supply requests, and can help to fund these other program activities:
- Transportation: The cost of providing a school bus to get students from their schools to the Philadelphia competition: $200 per bus (estimated need, 15 buses). Cost of providing transportation for students and their chaperones to the state competition: $2,500 per bus round trip, for a total of $7,500-$10,000 depending on delegation size.
- Student Competition Participation Assistance: There is no charge to participate in the Philadelphia competition. The cost of participation in the statewide competition is $150 per student for registration fees, lodging, and meals. Many of our students come from families with limited means and would not be able to attend the statewide competition without financial assistance. NHDPhilly is proud that it has always been able to shoulder the cost of participation in the statewide competition for its students.
Spread the Word!
You can help us reach an audience of givers. Share the campaign with your friends -- on Facebook or Twitter, or via email. Together we can make sure that NHDPhilly remains a bright spot in the academic year for Philadelphia-area students.
REMINDER: Funds are being collected on our behalf by our partner, THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOUNDATION OF THE UNION LEAGUE, a verified nonprofit, and your gift acknowledgment will list the Foundation as the recipient. The email acknowledgment will come from firstname.lastname@example.org .