Haleigh Hoebener, a Westfield Academy and Central School student who will be a senior this fall, competed in her fourth National History Day this past June.
“I love history and I love this program,” Hoebener said.
National History Day is a contest where students compete at local, state and national levels, presenting their conclusions about a significant historical topic. The national contest is held at the University of Maryland at College Park and only two students in each category from each state compete there.
Hoebener competed in the week long competition in the senior individual exhibit category with a tri-fold poster board about the Civil Rights Act of 1960, but had to come back before the week was up to take some of her tests at WACS. The theme for this year’s competition was Debate and Diplomacy, so Hoebener chose the Civil Rights Act as her topic after reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” in English class and because she is interested in the social aspects of history.
“I wanted to do something that’s not really known about,” Hoebener said.
Through her research of her topic, Hoebener learned about the severity of treatment to and disenfranchisement of African Americans including the literacy tests, poll taxes, Klu Klux Klan and other general terrorizing that went on; “the harsh realities of something that happened recently,” she said.
Though Hoebener has competed in National History Day for four years, this June was her second making it to the national level.
“It takes a lot of work,” Hoebener said, adding preparing for and competing in the competition has taught her discipline and hard work. “I really wanted to be able to go to the next level.”
Though she did not win her category, she did improve her finish from last year and is already looking forward to next year, where the theme will be Reform, Revolution and Reaction. Hoebener said she already has a couple of ideas.
As a senior in the competition, a win next June would get her a college scholarship. Hoebener is looking at continuing with her love of history in college and says she would like to work at a museum.
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Photo by Jenna Loughlin
Haleigh Hoebener sets up the exhibit she used to compete in this year’s National History Day at the University of Maryland at College Park.