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Rocky Heights dominates National History Day competition

Rocky Heights Middle School was proud of the numerous students it sent
to the regional competition for National History Day.  The school is
sending a record number of competitors to the state competition.

Castle Pines Village residents Brad Hansen and Amanda Pavillard worked together on a project about Susan B. Anthony.  Hansen said, “If you see the light, run towards it, and it’ll lead you to victory.”

Submitted by RHMS eighth grade student Dania Maaliki; courtesy photos

Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) is now recognized as a “powerhouse” because of its entries in the National History Day competition.

National History Day (NHD) is more than an academic competition and is very skill based.  Students learn to research primary and secondary sources, process those sources, and express themselves through a presentation of their choice.  RHMS participated in this program throughout the months of February and March, along with other schools in Douglas County and schools in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson Counties.

Every year NHD has a theme, and this year’s theme was “leadership and legacy.”  Students chose a certain person to fit this criteria and developed their creative projects from there.  They built a thesis to support their project and worked individually or in a group of up to five people to create an exhibit, documentary, website, performance, or to write a paper.

The participants began by competing in their schools.  Later, they moved on to regionals, which were held in March.  The students that won first place moved on to the state competition and this year, 21 participants from RHMS will be moving forward.  Castle Pines resident Annalise Olsen, one of the state competitors said, “It was a good experience that exposed me to different challenges and taught me useful skills for the future.”

Remarkable mentor, RHMS eighth grade social studies teacher Holly Spurlin, takes pride in her students.  “Watching my students grow into historians that can analyze historic sources, develop a thesis, and support it with evidence and reasoning has been an amazing journey.  I know these skills will serve them throughout their lifetime.”  We do hope the RHMS students going to the state competition will advance to the national competition held at the University of Maryland at College Park in June.

“Rocky Heights proved to be a powerhouse in the documentary category, winning five of the six documentary category awards.  In addition, RHMS sent more projects to the state contest than any other school in the greater Denver region, advancing eleven projects.  I’m hoping to see some RHMS students advance to the national contest,” remarked Korey Franken, the NHD regional coordinator.



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