That History Day Guy

June 16, 2008

Opening Ceremony

Filed under: Uncategorized — historydayguy @ 12:50 pm

Fundamental change, drastic change, and radical change in the way someone thinks, act or believes. This was the definition for history offered today by Amma Ghartea Tague. Alma is a former History Day student who won the Case Western Scholarship award in 1998. Her topic was the Amistad and Kathy said she was researching before Spielberg’s movie. Marcia Fox  this year’s coordinator for Kansas tells the story of Amma’s success. She actually found out as she went from one place to another to compile her research that Spielberg was one step behind her.  Amma performed her award winning performance for statewide coordinators, and conferences around the country. I was lucky enough to meet and greet with het. I am happy to say that Amma is now at New York University studying Theatre and History.

Amma addressed the group and revved the crowd up She spoke with the affect of a person who will one day be described in terms of “oration” and she knows what time it is for the almost 3000 students who crown the campus green during the opening ceremony.

She told the students that the hard work was done, and they should not worry about competition, but simply “tell it.” Tell there story that they have worked so hard on through the History Day year.

She also offered an inspiring definition of history: Not one of tying your shoes, but of inspiring, or enacting, or producing “radical change” in thoughts, actions or ideas. She proposed that the students themselves were not simply capable of telling America’s stories of “radical Change” but also being a part of it as their lives unfold.

Just this week I feel that many of our students have experienced radical change. For some it will be the first time in an urban environment, in hotels and even cable TV.

For some they will be elevated to unsuspected accomplishments while others will fall to equally unexpected lows.

New faces and flavors will be shared and peoples minds may be radically changed as they learn, interact or react to the ideas and actions taken in this contest.

While a rousing speech by HD alum may not be a radical departure for the contest, it certainly made the kinds of connection so needed in academic programs for teen: relevance. Weather that be in seeing the face or gender of a person who is similar or if it is simply a generational reference point, Alma is the kind of person and speaker who will inspire change, or action or thought. It was a wonderful addition to the open ceremony, and I applaud NHD for choosing her to wrap up the show!


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