Breaking Barriers in History is the theme of the 2020 National History Day program

H-ton Students Begin National History Day Quest

Breaking Barriers in History is the theme of the 2020 National History Day program

September 9, 2019

The impressive performance of Huntington students in the National History Day initiative over the years has captured the attention of teachers and contest officials across the country.

Huntington students have garnered Long Island, New York State and national honors in past years. The initiative draws participation from all 50 states as well as from students in Washington, DC, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and international schools in South Korea, South Asia and China.

Some Huntington students are already working on projects for this year’s competition. The 2020 contest requires research to be framed within the theme of “Breaking Barriers in History.”

“The theme is chosen for the broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past,” according to National History Day officials.

Huntington High School students creating projects for the 2020 contest will be joined in the initiative by sixth graders participating in the district’s SEARCH program and seventh and eighth graders in J. Taylor Finley Middle School’s Yorker Club.

 Huntington's Lauren Desiderio coordinates the district's National History Day program.
Huntington's Lauren Desiderio coordinates the district's National History Day program.

Students will conduct months of research to develop their projects, which will then be submitted in one of five formats: historical research papers, museum exhibits, video or computer generated documentaries, theatrical performances, and websites. Besides individual entries, all categories except papers can be completed by a group of up to five students.

Huntington High School’s National History Day club promotes and sponsors the initiative. The organization is open to all students who are participating in the contest.

This year’s National History Day club has an enthusiastic executive board, which includes Maddy Kye (president), Natalie Ciccone (vice president), Abby Semelsberger (treasurer), Neil Jean-Baptiste (recording secretary), Julien Rentsch (corresponding secretary), Diya Rai-Gersappe (historian) and administrative assistants Kyra DeSalvo, Claudia Villatoro, Maggie Lalor and Moira Contino. Lauren Desiderio serves as the club’s faculty advisor and coordinates the NHD program across the district.

Finley’s Yorker Club and its faculty advisor, social studies teacher Jarrad Richter is equaling welcoming to seventh and eighth graders. Students that love history will have an especially enjoyable experience as a club member.

SEARCH teacher Jessica Risalvato will once again be working with her students as they go about developing their projects. Past sixth grade entries have been exceptional.

Huntington’s National History Day local competition will be held on Wednesday, January 29 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the high school. The top finishers in each of the categories will advance to the Long Island regional finals in March at Hofstra University.

State History Day will be held on Monday, April 27, 2020 in Cooperstown. Huntington has enjoyed enormous success in the state contest. The national finals will be held in June at the University of Maryland, College Park.

For more information about this year’s National History Day initiative, contact the appropriate level advisor:

Huntington High School: Lauren Desiderio at

J. Taylor Finley Middle School: Jarrad Richter at

SEARCH sixth graders: Jessica Risalvato at