National History Club - Engaging a new generation with a passion for history * American Spirit Magazine
"Achievement in history and civics remains stagnant in American classrooms. A 2014 History Assessment, administered by the National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), saw no change in eighth graders’ scores since the last assessment in 2010. The NAEP assessment measures how well eighth-grade students know American history, evaluate historical evidence and understand democracy. Though the average score has increased by 8 points since the first NAEP U.S. history assessment in 1994, only 18 percent of students in the 2014 assessment performed at or above the proficient level. The average score was only 267 on a 0–500 scale." READ MORE!
I think many people don't appreciate how valuable the History Club can be. For me, what the History Club exposed me to and encouraged me to explore was the key to getting into a great school on scholarship. I dug up my old admissions file at my school, and I saw the admissions rep comments. They pointed out what we did in the History Club as one of the strongest parts of my profile, if not the strongest. Once I got there, the skills I learned in studying history let me think a little differently than my peers in business, which helped me do better in school. The skills and interests I picked up talking to people during my History Club days about their stories was what gave me the courage to reach out to some of the biggest names in business and finance and develop relationships with them. I get so fired up about it because I think the experiences the History Club exposes you to really are applicable and invaluable in almost any field that involves dealing with other people or institutions. I've found that for many people at the top, they hold the same view about history more generally. I just wish more young people knew about it sooner!
* Ben Fouch, former History Club President at Brownsburg High School (IN)
As the school year winds down, I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you well for the summer and always. I appreciate your support through the years, as we truly could not have been successful without you. Thanks again for sending us those scholarship
checks and extra cords at the last minute to help us finalize our duties for the year. Lastly, and most importantly, I wanted to let you know that this is my last school year as the advisor for the National History Club at Sachem East. I am officially stepping down on the last day of school, June 27. It has been an unbelievable experience; one that I sometimes cannot put into words. Madelyn and I created this club from the ground up and we started with such humble beginnings. With your support in Massachusetts, we were able to take a club of 6 or 7 students hanging out in a room to talk about history and transform it into a well-oiled machine of debaters, fundraisers, assemblies, scholars society members, Model UN participants, student-teachers, essay contest winners, civil rights activists, history bowl contestants/facilitators, and so much more!
None of that would have been possible without you there driving us to be successful. After seven years of working to make it the best it can be, it is time to step back and let someone else take up the charge of running the club. Madelyn and I have left very detailed information (including your contact information) for the administrators so that they may continue to keep the club running at full speed this school year. We selected a potential executive board of student officers and let them know that they will have to help the new advisor(s) to continue the great work we have all started here.
While I am stepping down as the co-advisor, I am still a Social Studies teacher at Sachem East and a member of your Listserv. I would like to remain in contact with you and a part of that Listserv, in hopes of continuing to develop great learning experiences for the students here at Sachem. Once again, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything. I consider it an honor to have you as a colleague.
Be well and enjoy the summer.
* Mike Jannace, Sachem East High School, NY
Adams Central's membership in National History Club has been very rewarding. When we first chartered our club, we were embarking on unchartered territory. We had never had a History Club before; our first search was to see if there was a 'parent organization'. This parent organization gave us a framework and helped focus our program...Interest in history itself has been on an upward spiral ever since. Our membership is drawn from all areas of achievement; we have varied programs throughout the year, so there is always something in which to get involved. Our largest endeavor of the year is the Veterans Day program; last year we had about 300 guests.
This is a student led program in which History Club takes the lead. All of the speakers and power point presentations are performed by History Club members.
The students enjoy the attention they receive in the newsletter (it's always good to see your name), and the award given for History Club student of the year has honored the two who have received it. Membership in the national part has pushed us to continue to strive for excellence in our programs and in our representation within the school and community. Numbers have grown immensely since the beginning; we started with about 20 and last year had about one hundred. History Club has become a very popular club...Thank you for all you do to make history come alive for students!”
* Carolyn McCammon, Adams Central High School, IN
The National History Club is important to my students at Aspen High School because it provides a national forum for their ideas about history and politics. Starting the club was attractive to me as an advisor because the initial requirements were flexible and the club was easy for students to join. There were no competitions we "had" to participate in, but the national affiliation gave us ideas about what we might do as a club. The club newsletter offers a focus for all the groups and provides history quizzes and narratives that stimulate student thought. The website of the National History Club and The Concord Review lends a credibility to the high school clubs that we wouldn't enjoy on our own. Think of the appeal of organizations like "The National Honor Society" which has been around for several decades. The National History Club is just beginning to gain that same credibility and provides new and veteran advisors with ideas about how to start and sustain an active membership.
Most importantly, the National History Club demonstrates a commitment to high school historical scholarship and student research that no one can deny. Most students who join history clubs are excited to know there are people in an organization who recognize the excellent contributions of student scholarship in history. The National History Club and the Concord Review provide this "place" that becomes a springboard for so many other student ideas. The National History Club nurtures the scholars and leaders of the future and does their work in a flexible format that accommodates high school students.
* Karen Green, Aspen High School, CO
History Club has provided students an activity that they would not normally have the opportunity to participate in. This club is not like others in that we explore specific information of the past but at our choosing while having fun. I get to know students still within the context of a subject discipline while being able to truly explore topics of interest to them without the pressure of curriculum coverage. Students really learn a lot and also realize that they can have fun with history too.”
* Kathryn Green, Benilde St. Margaret’s School, MN
Joining History Club was probably one of the most amusing, yet educational things I did my senior year. It was somewhere between the discussions on which movies were the best to watch as a group and playing Diplomacy after school for the better part of my day that I realized I was a history buff. Had I not joined this group of fellow history buffs, I would probably never have realized that not only is learning about history one of my strongest interests but that it is also one of my biggest fortés. And though, in the future, I intend to go into the field of Biology, I know I can apply the "learning while having fun" tactics to a subject as different from history as biology is. I would recommend anyone to join so long as they have a slight interest in history because I know I definitely regret not joining it earlier in my high school career.”
* Ricky DeMello, Benilde St. Margaret’s School, MN