Innovative Projects Covered Historical Events with Lessons for Today
From A Deadly Plague in the 1500s to the Rodney King Riots in the 1990s
Nearly 80 Students Eligible to Advance to State Contest

The Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library has announced the winners of the New York City History Day Contest. Top honors were awarded to projects exploring a wide range of historical events close to home like the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and the gentrification of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood—and those a world away including the exploration of Antarctica and the solar system. Mayor Eric Adams addressed the winners in a videotaped message at a ceremony yesterday.

Students studied history ranging from Caesar’s battle at Alesia in 52 BC to the landing of the 1997 Mars Rover. They learned about the first female cryptologist, the first (and only) female emperor of China and the last frontier. They studied labor leaders and transvestite activists, civil rights icons and space explorers, spartan princesses, bridge builders and Siberian fighters.

“On behalf of the Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library, I extend my congratulations to the winners and to all of the students who participated in New York City History Day. Conducting deep historical research and using archival materials, students explored an incredibly impressive range of topics—war and conflict, music and cinema, sports and medicine, invention and technology—learning that history is more than dates on a timeline and can inspire a more equitable and just future,” said Linda E Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library.

In all, 341 middle and high school students from 34 schools across the city participated, completing 184 projects addressing the theme Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas

For the first time ever, the contest was free to all participants.

They submitted group and individual projects in five categories—exhibits, performances, websites, papers, and documentaries. In addition to learning about history, participants gain valuable critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and research skills.

“One skill I learned from this project is collaborative teamwork. I’m usually the type of guy to go solo on a project—to work with myself. But to work with these guys was different. I learned how to organize my work, to know which person is in charge of what. It taught me how to be more collaborative, and to be more of a leader,” said Jonas Suazo, a student at Townsend Harris High School.

A complete list of winners can be found here, including special awards for outstanding projects on New York City history, immigration, social activism, global events, women’s history and natural and historic landmarks.

“We need to learn from our past for our modern-day problems, and how we got to the present. Without knowing how we got to the present, how can we progress forward as a society?” asked Adien Dewan, a student at Townsend Harris High School.

The Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library hosted New York City History Day for the second time this year, taking over from the Museum of the City of New York, which generously hosted NYCHD for 30 years. Volunteers from cultural heritage institutions, libraries, businesses, and academic institutions across the city served as judges.

The contest is the regional component of National History Day, a program that provides over half a million students each year the opportunity to learn about historical research and interpretation along with creative expression. 79 students from New York City have the opportunity to advance to the New York State History Day contest. 

About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 60,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.