Sunday, March 19, 2017

National History Day Reflection

     National History Day caused me so much annoyance, joy, pride, anger, and stress. It was a huge project with very strict rules and very many ways to mess up. But I learned a lot and all in all, I had fun(except during the bibliographies ;)). For this project I partnered up with Danielle. We researched John Carlos and Tommie Smith, two African American runners who took a stand for black rights in the 1968 Olympics. This fits the theme taking a stand in history because it was on a huge stage, and it was something that they strongly believed in. This black power salute is caught in a famous photo that many people have seen but they do not know the story behind it.
     Overall, I'm extremely proud of our project. It is fun and colorful, and gets the message across very well. But my favorite part of the project was what it was about. It is a topic that not many people know about and I think that's really cool. It also is about a problem that, sadly, still goes on today and needs to be corrected. When we started this project I did want to do a topic that people knew about, but I didn't want to just be repeating the same information that every already knows, so I though this was a great choice.
     One thing I found that I thought was very interesting, was they fact that John Carlos said that he let Tommie Smith win the race. Carlos said he did this because he believed Smith would have not gone threw with the salute had Carlos won the race. Smith did deny the claim, but nothing is for certain. Another fact that I thought was cool was what the different parts of the salute were. For example, Smith's gloved hand is raised for black power, and Carlos's hand was raised for black unity. Together it forms an arch of power and unity. I thought the meanings throughout the salute were really interesting and it showed me how much planning went into the salute.
     In my opinion, the hardest part of this project was the word count. The requirement for all exhibits was your project had to have fewer than 500 words, including titles and subtitles. We had several interesting facts we had gotten in our research that we couldn't put on our board because we didn't have enough words. I can see why they put the word count on though because it makes you get straight to the point. It forces you too only include facts that are relevant to the project. The only exception to this rule was that quotes didn't add on to our word count. That helped A LOT. We used many, many quotes and we finally managed to meet the word count. A second runner up problem was when we spray painted our foam board tri-fold in bubbled up, leaving huge bubbles. These were eventually covered up by photos and text.
     I learned so much from this project, and even though it made me want to pull my hair out I'm glad we did it. One of the most important things I learned is you cannot stress out about things you can't change. I was so stressed about the bubbles on our board and about the word count, but I couldn't change either of those things. I had to learn to deal with the problem and find a good solution. I have to say, Danielle was super supportive, and it really helped to have her by my side and helping me come up with solutions. I also learned a little bit more about time management, as we did have dead lines for different aspects of our project.
     Before history day actually happens, I would like to make sure all of our citations are done correctly. The citations are really boring, and I didn't want to do them but I knew I had to. This might have caused me to skim over something and not do it properly. I also think we will have to edit our process paper.
     I am so, so proud of our project. I'm proud of how it looks and how well informed we are. I could go on and on. But what I'm most proud of is how hard both me and Danielle worked on this project. We went to each others houses multiple times and we didn't have the problem of "One person did all the work!". Our problem was we were too nice and we wasted too much time saying; "Well if you don't want to do it we don't have to," "No it's fine, really." "Are you sure? I don't want to do it if you don't want to,..." and so on. I feel like Danielle would laugh at this because its so true! We worked really well together and we really didn't argue, witch made things run much smoother. I'm confident that I speak for both of us when I say I was extremely proud of everything we did( I already said that but oh well!).
     Our topic relates to the theme, taking a stand in history, because Tommie Smith and John Carlos both took a huge risk to make their voices heard. They gave up their personal achievements for the greater good, witch I would say counts as taking a stand. African Americans were not treated right back then, and both men showed that through this silent gesture.
     Last of all, if you are doing history day, or any other big project for that matter, choose your partner wisely. For one thing, you will probably be working on that project for a long time, so you have to get along. A partner also helps tremendously with work, and above all they will support you. Shout out to Danielle, thanks for being an awesome partner! History Day is stressful, annoying, and angering, but really, its totally worth it.

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