Chuck Taft and Students Honored at National History Day Finals

Of the five USM projects that advanced to the National History Day finals in May, three were honored with recognition at the national level. Congratulations to August Neumann ’24, Srikar Mudili ’24, and Ellie Leverett ’21.

Neumann won the Asian American History Prize for his paper “U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark: Barred from His Homeland, One Chinese American’s Fight for Birthright Citizenship.” He also came in fourth in the overall junior Individual Paper category.

Mudili won the U.S. Constitution prize for his website, “Executive Order 9981: Desegregating the Armed Services.”

Leverett was awarded the senior Outstanding Entry from Wisconsin for her documentary “Hazel Scott: The Unsung Champion of Civil Rights.” She came in sixth in the nation in the senior Individual Documentary category and was honored to have her work selected to be part of the 2020 Digital Documentary Showcase hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which ran from June 17 to 24, 2020.

Two more projects received high praise from judges: “ARPANET: The Beginning of the Information Revolution” by Jackson Darr ’24; and “K.V. Switzer: Breaking Barriers through Femininity and Feminism” by Azara Mason ’24 and Tallyn Kubicki ’24.

“Congrats go to all of these fine young historians,” said 8th grade American history teacher Chuck Taft. “Over half a million students competed in National History Day competitions this year, and to be recognized at the national level is quite an achievement!”

In addition to the students, Taft was named one of just two teachers nation-wide to earn the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award, which recognizes the teachers’ outstanding work and dedication to their students. “This award reflects Chuck’s long-term work on NHD projects; he guides students to find unique topics, take deep dives into research, and challenge themselves to do their best work,” said Head of Middle School Elaine Griffin. “This well-deserved award proves what we all know: We are so lucky that Chuck is part of the USM family.”
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