This morning — while you and I sipped coffee at home — dozens of Staples High School sophomores were already at the Westport Library.
The social studies students were setting up for Westport’s 1st “Celebrate History Day.” It’s step one on the way to a national competition. They’re in it to win it.
Working in groups of 2 or 3, they spent weeks studying the theme: “Take a Stand.” Some students created traditional poster board exhibits. Others developed websites, made documentary films or put on performances.
Just as today’s science students have evolved from making bubbling volcanoes to creating robots, their history classes have taught them to think critically about a number of issues in America’s past.
Some subjects are well known. Others I’ve never heard of. Here are a few topics:
- Jane Jacobs
- The Stonewall riots
- Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution
- The Black Panther Party in Connecticut
- Carrie Nation
- Southbury, CT’s Nazi opposition
- Lynsey Addario’s photography
- Arthur Ashe’s AIDS activism
- Charles Deslondes (leader of a slave uprising)
- Anne Hutchinson
- Candie Leitner and the growth of MADD
- Sojourner Truth
- Edward R. Murrow
- Martin Luther
- The Grimké sisters (abolitionists and suffragettes)
- Christine Jorgensen
- Eugene Debs
- The history of censorship
- Cesar Chavez
- Thomas Paine
- George Orwell
- Marian Anderson
- Roger Sherman
- The Tuskegee Airmen
- The fight to save Cockenoe Island
- Sitting Bull
- Tienanmen Square
- Eleanor Roosevelt and the role of the First Lady
- Gladys Iola Tantaquidgeon (Mohegan medicine woman)
- The first Earth Day
The students learned a ton.
I learned more.
Including the importance of taking a stand.