Dear Escalante Middle School Community,
In middle school, pre-adolescents and early teens begin their path to individuation, a psychological term which essentially means breaking away from parents to form their own identity. As a result, students tend to share less information with adults. More conversations between parents and their kids about school sound something like this.
Parent: “How’s your History Day project coming along at school?”
Child: “Why are you checking up on me? Don’t you trust me? Why even ask me about it?”
Parent: “I was only just asking. I just want to know if you were going okay with it….”
Child: “Sure you were…(incoherent mumbling).”
Because History Day is such a major learning event at every grade level at Escalante, I hope that conversations at home can get quite a bit deeper than the typical pre-adolescent conversation about school. I’ve observed that students who enjoy History Day select a topic they are passionate about and their topic matches the theme. This year’s theme is Triumph and Tragedy. For example, Jesse Owens’ performance in the the Nazi Olympics may make a great topic for an enthusiastic young runner because Owens’ story of winning gold in front of Hitler had both triumphant and tragic undertones. Lincoln's assassination story matches the theme because of its timing: the Civil War came to a triumphant conclusion at the same time of his tragic death.
Parents can really support their kids by helping them link a topic they genuinely want to learn more about with the Triumph and Tragedy theme.
History Day is a pretty big deal here at Escalante Middle School, and it’s a topic that I hope can lead to many meaningful discussions between parents and their children. Over the past several years, we have been strongly represented at regional, state, and national levels. Considering that over 500,000 students enter the competition nationally, it is pretty amazing that EMS has national finalists year in and year out.
Thanks for taking some time over the next few weeks to help your child find an area of interest and brainstorming possible topics. My hope is that every student learns how to create a strong historical argument, write a solid thesis, and use evidence to support a claim while studying a topic they actually enjoy. Personally, I’ve had some great conversations with my middle schooler about both the theme this year and fascinating topics. Hopefully we can bring history to life at many dinner tables across Durango in a similar way and overcome the difficulty inherent in discussing school with 12 to 14 year olds. If you’d like to learn more about History Day, they have a great website at: https://www.nhd.org/students
As always, thanks for your support.