SIS hosts National History Day


Minjae Chun, Design & Production Editor

On Feb. 26, SIS hosted the annual National History Day (NHD) Korea awards ceremony for the first time. The NHD supervisors, James Kowalski and Steven Nave, and the high school NHD Student Council have prepared for the ceremony since August. 

“NHD Korea is one of only three international affiliates of the NHD program, so hosting it is a great honor for us, now and into the foreseeable future,” Mr. Kowalski said. “NHD allows students to create research projects of their own design, conduct research, and present their own historical argument with clarity and originality. It certainly takes a great deal of time and effort for students to put together their projects so I am very proud of all the entries.”

The NHD Student Council played a significant role throughout the preparation process. The members were responsible for arranging the keynote speech, creating posters and merchandise, arranging the live streaming platform, and more. Aimee Choi (11), the project manager, and Triston Lee (11), a logistics coordinator, were also the main presenters at the awards ceremony. 

“I was very excited when SIS became the national coordinator and also the host of NHD Korea 2022,” Triston said. “While being part of the NHD Student Council, I learned a lot about the importance of managerial communication and was able to improve my interpersonal skills.”

Although the NHD Student Council and supervisors initially prepared the ceremony as an in-person event, they adapted to a virtual setting due to COVID-19 restrictions. Plans for catering services, judge interviews, and hotels and transportations were canceled. 

“I think one of the biggest challenges in preparing for this year’s NHD was the switch to organizing a virtual event from an in-person one,” Mr. Nave said. “We had to make sure all the project submissions were accurately represented in an online platform and put together the details about the event on the website.” 

This year’s NHD theme was Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences. 478 NHD participants, representing 26 different international schools across South Korea and Taiwan, had the opportunity to showcase their knowledge related to this theme through a research paper, documentary, performance, exhibition, or website. 

“As my group members and I got to interview various historians and experts for our project, I learned several different historical perspectives of my issue and how and why those perspectives changed over the years,” Sarah Yim (11), participant of NHD, said. “Although this was my last year competing, NHD was truly a memorable experience of my high school career.”

The ceremony opened with welcome remarks from the head of school, Michael Colaianni. The keynote speaker Leighanne Yuh, professor in the Department of Korean History at Korea University, presented a brief lecture on the late Choseon Dynasty and held a live question and answer session. Shortly after, the winning entries were announced. Nine out of 25 winning entries of the senior division were by SIS high school students. Students who placed first or second are qualified to compete in the National Contest which will be held virtually in June. 

“My teammates and I were really happy when we learned that we got second place,” Bin Chiang (11), a member of a winning performance group, said. “We worked on our NHD performance ever since November and I am proud that our hard work eventually paid off. I am looking forward to the experiences next year’s NHD will bring.”