History Lessons Beyond the Classroom

June 9, 2022

The Bay-Weekly, May 19, 2022
by Susan Nolan

Two combined photos, with captions overlaid. Photo 1: Devin Page, a middle-aged white male, stands next to his student, Zara Ahmed. They stand outside of a school building. The caption reads. “Teacher Devin Page with student Zara Ahmad. Zara’s project won the Barry A. Lanman Award for Excellence in Oral History for her paper entitled “The Politics and Debate of the Partition of India and the Modern Day Repercussions.” Photo 2: Nicholas Thomas and Dylan Allafi, two white boys, in front of their exhibit on posterboard. The caption reads: “Nicholas Thomas and Dylan Allafi with the first iteration of their National History Day project at the Calvert County competition. Photo courtesy Lisa Davidson.”
Images courtesy of Bay Weekly

An interested student is a passionate researcher. Devin Page, a social studies teacher at Northern Middle School in Owings, knows this. He has been preparing students to compete in National History Day for 19 years.

National History Day, a Maryland-based educational non-profit, is in the business of cultivating a passion for research. Annually, middle and high school students compete at the local level to win the chance to advance to state and national competitions. Building on a provided theme, students turn their research into films, websites, academic papers, exhibits or performances. Only two projects per category are chosen to advance to the national level.

The students choose the topics they work on. “The National History Day competition is not tethered to our curriculum,” says Page. “Students choose a topic based on their own personal interests and that interest compels them to dig deep into research.” 

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