Three BHS Entries Advancing to National History Day Finals

April 8, 2024

Three entries by Bedford High School students – including two state champions – are advancing to the National History Day finals, following Saturday’s Massachusetts finals.

The 17 entries by BHS regional winners also garnered five honorable mention citations.

“The judges were floored by our students’ knowledge and eloquence,” said Patrick Culhane, BHS social studies teacher and advisor to the National History Day effort.

The theme of this year’s competition is “Turning Points in History.” Twenty-five BHS high-honors level history students qualified for the state contest.

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Amelie Kelly finished first in the category of individual documentary with her entry “From Concept to Checkout: How the Barcode Overcame Technological and Social Issues.” Vivian Liu’s “Government Push for Smallpox Vaccination: A Life Saving Turning Point” was the statewide winner in the category of individual exhibit. 

Also qualifying for the nationals, scheduled for four days beginning June 9 at the University of Maryland, were Simon Bendersky, Thomas Lundgren, and Shreyes Shivappa, who finished second in the category of group documentary. Their entry was titled, “The 1949 Geneva Conventions: Turning Towards Humanity During War.”

BHS senior Charles Bing received a special award, the Leventhal Map Center Prize, for best use of maps as a primary source. His documentary on submarine cables received honorable mention.

Judges also awarded honorable mention to four other BHS entries: Grace Niu and Jennie Noh for their website; Madeleine Ota and Jennie Wang for their documentary; Swetha Kaundinya for her website; and Giullia Caico for her exhibit.  

“I had the privilege of attending the annual Winter History Fair at the BHS Library and was floored by the depth of knowledge and research done by our students. In fact, I believe that one documentary project I watched could have been aired on PBS,” said Superintendent of Schools Cliff Chuang. “Congratulations to all of our students and their parents/caregivers and teachers for a job well done.”

BHS Principal Heather Galante also extended congratulations, adding “special thanks to Patrick Culhane and our entire Social Studies Department. We are truly proud of the efforts and engagement of our students.”

She noted that History Fair students and alumni “often share that this immersive research project is a highlight of their school career as it is one that extends the content beyond the classroom.”

“The state finals are always somewhat bittersweet. I am so happy for the students that advanced, but it is a tough pill to swallow for the students that don’t,” Culhane observed. “Everyone at the state finals have such high-quality products that judging is truly difficult. I want to emphasize how proud I am of the entire team and not just the winners. They deserve recognition for their hard work and eloquence during judging. I can’t think of better representatives for our community and for their families.”

“Since 2005, this will be the sixth time we’ve sent three or more projects to nationals,” he continued. “The competition team wouldn’t be where it is without the support from the BHS Social Studies Department, especially Jim Sunderland, who created the program and whom I consider a mentor.”

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