Going down in history! Student ‘NYC History Day Contest’ winners announced

exhibit at new york city center for history contest
Hundreds of students worked together on their projects for the annual New York City History Day contest, and the winners have finally been chosen.
Photo courtesy Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

They’re making history!

Dozens of student historians from around the five boroughs saw their work recognized, when they were named winners of the annual “New York City History Day Contest” on Friday at the Center for Brooklyn History — with almost 80 young scholars moving onto the state history contest in April.

The projects, which were assembled by middle and high school students all across New York City, followed the theme “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.” 

Students roamed far from the boundaries of the Big Apple, and the winning projects focused on everything from the Transcontinental Railroad to the Bay of Pigs invasion.

center for brooklyn history winning project
One of the winning projects focused on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and all the technological and personal innovations behind it. Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

“Conducting deep historical research and using archival materials, students explored an incredibly impressive range of historical topics — war and conflict, music and cinema, sports and medicine, invention and technology — learning that history is more than dates on a timeline and can inspire a more equitable and just future,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, home of the Center for Brooklyn History.

For the first time in its more than 30-year history, the 2022-23 contest was free for all – and 341 students entered, vying for victory and picking up research, teamwork and leadership skills along the way. 

Fittingly for the Center for Brooklyn History, some of the winning projects did focus on the borough — Stuyvesant High School seniors Daniel Murdoch, Giles El-Assal and Kauden Ruparel took first place in the Senior Group Exhibit for their project “Crossing the Bridge to Brooklyn, Innovation, Prosperity, and Freedom.” 

Hailey daSilva, a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Manhattan, won “Outstanding Project on New York City History” for her project on how the subway system influenced gentrification in Bedford-Stuyvesant. 

“One skill I learned from this project is collaborative teamwork. I’m usually the type of guy to go solo on a project—to work with myself,” said Jonas Suazo, a contest entrant from Townsend Harris High School in Queens. “But to work with these guys was different. I learned how to organize my work, to know which person is in charge of what. It taught me how to be more collaborative, and to be more of a leader.”

kids dressed up at history day contest
Hundreds of middle and high school students dressed up, wrote papers, and put together life performances to show off their research. Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

Winners of the statewide history contest will head to nationals — last year, a team from the Hellenic Classical Charter School in Park Slope took second in the national contest for their project “Shirley Chisholm: Championing Domestic Workers through Debate and Diplomacy.”

Hellenic Classical Charter may go all the way again this year: a group of students from the school took first place in the citywide “Junior Group Documentary” category for their film “Dr. Pap: Pioneer in Early Cancer Prevention.”

For more coverage of the History Day contest, head to BrooklynPaper.com.