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Patricia Behring Featured Teachers - April 2014

Would you like to be considered as a Featured Teacher in 2014-2015?  Please consider applying for one of our NHD Teacher Awards HERE.

 

Michael Novrocki
Lake-Lehman High School
Senior Division
2013 Behring Award recipient from Pennsylvania
2013 National Behring Award recipient
NHD Teacher since 2001
NHD Students from 1986 to 1989


Why are you an NHD Teacher?
I was an NHD student in high school and the program provided me with the greatest learning experiences of my student career.  When I became an educator, I wanted my students to have learning experiences like that as well.
 
What is your favorite quote about history?  
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”- Aldous Huxley
 
If you could have dinner with any figure in history, who would it be and why?
Major Dick Winters (who led the Band of Brothers in World War II) because he was a truly good man and one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.
 
How has NHD affected your students beyond increased knowledge of their chosen topic?
NHD has increased the self-confidence of my students and given them the additional advantages of greater research capabilities and polished interviewing skills than many other students applying to college.
 
Once they graduate, what do you want your students to remember about their NHD experience?
I want them to say “NHD helped me discover so much about myself- who I am, how I learn, and what I wanted to become.”


Erin Patchak
Bay View Middle School
Junior Division
2013 Behring Award recipient from Wisconsin
NHD Teacher since 2006

Why are you an NHD Teacher?
History Day builds intelligence and character, not just for the duration of the time a student devotes to a project, but for the future.  Through NHD, my students have been able to explore historical topics that they were passionate about including aviation history, school segregation, historic preservation, women’s rights, the American Revolution, and integration in baseball to name a few.  The critical thinking skills they developed through the process are immeasurable.  From being able to read and interpret a primary source, cross reference conflicting information, citing and annotating sources, and making contacts and carrying out interviews with experts in the field, I am confident that the skills they have learned  year, will carry over to their high school, college, and careers.  
 
 
What is your favorite quote about history?  
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”  FDR
 
If you could have dinner with any figure in history, who would it be and why?
I would have dinner with Anne Frank. She wrote, “I want to go on living even after my death!  And therefore I am grateful to God for this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me.” Her passion for not only writing, but life itself are inspiring.  I would love to know how she felt about that fact that she went on to be a best selling author, without perhaps even intending to.  
 
How has NHD affected your students beyond increased knowledge of their chosen topic?
Beyond the academic knowledge, students have learned about themselves in the process.  Whether discovering their ability to put symbolism into their fine art projects, to a new found passion and talent for web design, to conquering fears of speaking in front of a crowd, my National History Day students of the past and present leave my classroom with higher self esteem and a deeper passion for history than they entered.  What better lesson could I ask for than that?  
 
 
Once they graduate, what do you want your students to remember about their NHD experience?
I hope my students remember that there is always something new to be learned, you just have to be willing to dig deep enough.  I hope that no matter what the end result, students were satisfied knowing they were all winners in my book, because they learned and accomplished more than they ever had before.


Christina Smart Meigs
Triad Middle School
Junior Division
2013 Behring Award recipient from Ohio
NHD Teacher since 2005


Why are you an NHD Teacher?
I am a NHD teacher because this project is what I consider “best practice.” It incorporates nearly all of my language arts standards such as thesis statement development, research, writing, speaking and listening just to name a few. Aside from the standards correlation, it is a phenomenal experience to see students of all ability levels work diligently to research a topic of their interest and proudly present it to their classmates and judges. I also feel it is an opportunity for students, teachers, district administrators and the community at large to celebrate student academic achievement.
 
What is your favorite quote about history?  
“History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” –John F. Kennedy
 
If you could have dinner with any figure in history, who would it be and why?
This was the HARDEST question to answer! There are so many different people I would like to meet and have a conversation with, it is difficult to choose. Ever since I did a project in elementary school, I have had a fascination with the Titanic. I would like meet people associated with the ship at the time, the builders, passengers, the captain etc. I would also be interested in speaking with Robert Ballard who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. While I’m dreaming, I’d like to walk the decks in all their glory.
 
How has NHD affected your students beyond increased knowledge of their chosen topic?
NHD gives my students a sense of pride and accomplishment. I also feel that their world gets smaller every time they choose a new topic to explore. It opens their eyes to what is around them and challenges them to question not just history, but our present. NHD enables students to increase self-confidence by encouraging interaction with experts and adults who are outside of their comfort zone of family, friends and teachers.
 
Once they graduate, what do you want your students to remember about their NHD experience?
I want my students to be proud of the projects they created. I want them to fondly remember their presentation to their classmates and judges. I want them to smile at the butterflies of nervous confidence they felt at that moment. I want them to remember the wonder they felt when they entered The Ohio State University Student Union for the first time. I want them to someday recognize that this project helped them to prepare for elements of their future life and career.


Lainie Marsh
Colmer Middle School
Junior Division
2013 Behring Award recipient from Mississippi
NHD Teacher since 2012


Why are you an NHD Teacher?
At first, I became an NHD Teacher because I was told it was required for all Colmer Middle School Pre-AP US History students.  Now, I’m an NHD Teacher because I see such great value for the students now and in their futures from participating in the NHD Program.  NHD has made me a better teacher, and has allowed me to be even more amazed at the ability of students if they are allowed new opportunities.
 
What is your favorite quote about history?  
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank
 
If you could have dinner with any figure in history, who would it be and why?
I find this question very difficult to answer because I have so many different interests.  However, I would really enjoy having dinner with Walt Disney.  When I was five years old, my parents took my sister and me to Disneyland in Anaheim.  We were super excited, but even as I was taking in the entire Disney ambience, I saw my mother with tears in her eyes as we walked down Main Street.  I found out going to Disneyland was one of her biggest dreams.  Ever since that day, I have been fascinated with Disney and his magic.  
 
 
How has NHD affected your students beyond increased knowledge of their chosen topic?
I am constantly amazed at the abilities of my students while they are working on their NHD projects.  Before I began teaching NHD in 2012, I knew students would meet any standard presented to them, but I would have been very hesitant to present these standards if not for compiling them into NHD.  Because students are allowed to choose their NHD topics, students are much more engaged in the NHD project than any other project they have experienced.  Even if students did not like history before NHD, they really feel like they “own” a piece of history when they are finished.  
 
Once they graduate, what do you want your students to remember about their NHD experience?
I want students to remember it is important to find something about which to be passionate.  I hope students will be more willing to take on challenges.  I also want them to remember that history belongs to everyone because it is nothing more than the story of our lives.

 
Would you like to be considered as a Featured Teacher in 2014-2015?  Please consider applying for one of our NHD Teacher Awards HERE.

 

Behring Leadership Corner

See how teachers use NHD in their classrooms.


Teachers and NHD

See what teachers have to say about their experiences with National History Day.

Top Ten Reasons to participate in National History Day

1. Teaches History

2. Engages Students

3. Energizes the Curriculum

4. Promotes High Academic Standards

5. Encourages Literacy

6. Enhances Assessment

7. Teaches Critical Thinking

8. Inspires Curiosity

9. Recognizes the Student Strengths

10. Activates Civic Engagement