South Orangetown Central School District

Two South Orangetown Central School District students advanced to the New York State History Day Competition in Cooperstown on Monday. Entrants participated in an interview with judges to discuss their project and what inspired their choice of topic.

Tappan Zee High School senior Brian Curtis placed third at the state contest in the Senior Division, Website category for “The Other Man: Peter Norman’s Never-ending Race,” a biographical website profiling the Australian sprinter who placed second in the 1968 Olympics and was ostracized for expressing solidarity with the Black Power protest on the podium. His website placed first in the regional competition. “It was an honor to be around others who had put so much work into their projects and teachers and judges who volunteered their time to place an emphasis on history in schools,” said Brian, who plans to major in history and minor in political science at Binghamton University this fall. He says that a conversation with a judge and another student about their projects was a highlight of his state competition experience. “It was a simple thing, but it was great to talk with others who have a shared passion for history.”

South Orangetown Middle School eighth-grader Matt Tobin placed second in the Junior Division at regionals for his historical paper, “The Triumph and Tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” “Although I didn’t win, I was excited to attend the award ceremony and be other students who had worked hard on their projects. Other schools had large groups attending and I think it would have made the experience even better if we did, too,” Matt reflected. “National History Day is an event that you’ll spend a lot of time preparing for, on a topic that you’re interested in. But you can compete individually or as a group with friends and it’s a lot of fun.”

Congratulations, Brian and Matt!

Student in hallway Male student smiling