The Jefferson Memorial honors President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence

Finley’s Yorker Club Promotes Love for History

The Jefferson Memorial honors President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence

November 24, 2020

J. Taylor Finley Middle School’s Yorker Club promotes a love for history among students who are particularly interested in social studies, including politics and national and world events.

Club members are mainly focused on the annual National History Day initiative. Student will develop projects that will be entered into Huntington UFSD’s local contest with the top entries advancing to the regional competition. The state finals are scheduled for April with the national championships in June.

COVID-19 has required this year’s contest to go virtual. The 2021 national theme is “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

“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 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.

This marks Finley social studies teacher Jarrad Richter’s sixth year serving as the Yorker Club’s faculty advisor. The club has been meeting virtually since October.

“I’m really excited about this year’s crop of Yorkers,” Mr. Richter said. “The kids have really jumped in with both feet and they’ve come up with some great topics that I think are perfect for this never-before-seen National History Day theme.”

Huntington High School National History Day club officers Christopher Maichin, Ally Kustera, Emily Geller and Cassidy Casabona have been assisting during Yorker Club virtual meetings, sharing their experience with the Finley students and providing advice.

Finley librarian Carmen DiBartolomeo is also pitching in to help, offering her research expertise virtually at select club meetings and in-person during lunch periods.

“We have a nice mix of seventh and eighth graders this year, researching topics such as the Navajo Code Talkers, Underground Railroad, Stonewall Riots, Rogues Gallery and Rosa Parks,” Mr. Richter said. “Students will create projects to be entered in the junior website and junior documentary categories.”

Interested in getting involved and joining in on the fun? See Mr. Richter or a message to him at

The Yorker Club’s name itself is stepped in history. “The Yorker Club was an organization founded by the New York State Historical Association to help junior and senior high school students to better understand the history of the state,” according to the Clinton County Historical Society. “Clubs would study local history, compete in competitions with their projects and socialize with other groups.”

New York’s National History Day contest is going virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The local competition will be held in January/February with the top projects advancing to the regionals in February/March. Virtual judging for the state contest will be held from April 16-29 with results announced on April 30, 2021.