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November 16, 2023
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Dora Ricci


New York State Archives Announces Long Island Winners of the 2023 Annual Student Research Awards Statewide Competition

Eight Jericho Students Earn Top Spot in Five Categories

The New York State Archives and Archives Partnership Trust named eight Jericho Union Free School District middle and high school students the winners of the 2023 New York State Student Research Awards program, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. This annual awards program is a statewide competition open to all New York State students in grades four to twelve.

The winning Jericho students submitted documentary projects highlighting a variety of historical topics including the Salem witch trials; the Navajo community members that created communication codes during World War II; and the impact of Jacob Riis’ photojournalism on poverty. The winning high school projects included a website on the role of Jazz Ambassadors during the Cold War and a research paper analyzing Venezuela as an economic pioneer. The Awards recognize excellence in student research and encourage students to explore the wealth of historical records held in cultural institutions and records repositories across New York State. This year marks the 33rd year anniversary of the competition for young students in the elementary, middle school, and high school divisions.

Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “Congratulations to our talented students who have embraced the challenge of using historical records to research and document our state’s rich history. I hope that this annual research awards competition instills the values of curiosity, knowledge, and the importance of preserving our shared cultural heritage and passion for exploring our past for future generations of researchers.”

State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “We’re proud to honor and recognize the work of these students for their outstanding research projects using primary source materials. This invaluable Student Research Awards program serves as a pathway for our young students to not only unlock the treasures of the past, but it also inspires and ignites curiosity in our history as well as an appreciation for the critical analysis and research skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.”

Awards are given in the following three divisions: Grades 4-5 (Elementary); Grades 6-8 (Middle School); and Grades 9-12 (High School). A complete list of this year’s winners follows:

Middle School Division Winner (Grades 6-8)

Salem Witch Trials: Frontiers in the U.S. Judicial System, Documentary, Crystal Pang, Jericho Middle School, Jericho Union Free School District, Teacher: Pamela Travis

Crystal Pang, from Jericho Middle School, under the direction of their teacher Pamela Travis, created a documentary about the influence of the Salem Witch Trials on court procedure in the future judicial system of the United States. The documentary provides a rich historical context and thorough historical analysis of the documents related to the trials. Crystal utilized various types of primary sources in the research which resulted in a thorough presentation of the history and future influence of the Salem Witch Trials.

Main Repositories Accessed: Connecticut State Library, Library of Congress, National Archives

Middle School Division 2nd Place (Grades 6-8)

The Navajo Code Talkers: A New Frontier in Military Communication, Documentary, Armaan Dewal and Dylan Rateshwar, Jericho Middle School, Jericho Union Free School District, Teacher: Michelle Vevante

Armaan Dewal and Dylan Rateshwar, from Jericho Middle School, under the direction of their teacher Michelle Vevante, created a documentary about the experience of the individual members of the Navajo community who developed the communication code during World War II. The documentary provides a rich historical context and thorough historical analysis of the documents related to the experience of the Code Talkers. Armaan and Dylan conducted extensive research which contributed to the rich detail of the documentary and allowed them to make significant connections to the broader historical context.

Main Repositories Accessed: National Museum of the American Indian, The National World War II Museum, National Archives

Middle School Division 3rd Place (Grades 6-8)

Jacob Riis: Pioneer of Poverty through Photojournalism, Documentary, Chloe Hu and Ara Woo, Jericho Middle School, Jericho Union Free School District, Teacher: Konstantine Kovoros

Chloe Hu and Ara Woo, from Jericho Middle School, under the direction of their teacher Konstantine Kovoros, created a documentary highlighting the influence of Jacob Riis’ work on the national perception of poverty. The documentary places Riis’ work into the broader historical context and focuses on the impact his photojournalism had on poverty in the United States. Chloe and Ara consulted a variety of primary sources and included a visit to the Tenement Museum as part of their research process.

Main Repositories Accessed: National Child Labor Committee Collection Photographs by Lewis Hine, International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, Library of Congress

High School Division Winner (Grades 9-12)

The New International Economic Order: Venezuela as a Pioneer on the Frontier for Global Economic Equality, Research Paper, Alison Tae, Jericho High School, Jericho Union Free School District, Teacher: Theresa Cantwell and Valerie Conklin

Alison Tae, from Jericho High School, researched and analyzed Venezuela’s coalition with other developing nations to establish “permanent preferential treatment for developing nations in international policy.” Alison uses a variety of primary sources, including audio and visual sources, to document the impact of Venezuela’s unique approach on the development of flourishing economies in formerly developing nations. The author provided excellent historical context by placing the events in the broader context of international economic policy and the global economic issues of the 1970s.

Main Repositories Accessed: Miller Center of Public Affairs University of Virginia, El Nacional Microfilm Archives, United Nations General Assembly Archives

High School Division 2nd Place (Grades 9-12)

The Jazz Ambassadors: Playing the Frontiers of American Diplomacy, Website, Kaitlyn Choi and Madison Choi, Jericho High School, Jericho Union Free School District, Teacher: Theresa Cantwell and Valerie Conklin

Kaitlyn Choi and Madison Choi, from Jericho High School, presented the role of the Jazz Ambassadors during the Cold War. The website is clear and concise as well as visually appealing. The authors used a variety of primary sources to research and analyze the influence of the Jazz Ambassadors in spreading ideas of American freedom and racial tolerance. This history was placed within the broader context of Soviet-U.S. relations and the tensions of the Cold War. The website also shows how the work of the Jazz Ambassadors can be seen as a precursor to the modern use of culture in American diplomacy.

Main Repositories Accessed: New York Public Library, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, National Archives

Additional Statewide Winner:

Elementary School Division Winner (Grades 4-5)

Six Miles on the Erie Canal, Book, Thornell Road Fourth Grade, Thornell Road Elementary School, Pittsford Central School District, Teacher: Toni Stevens-Oliver

The students of Thornell Road Elementary School’s Fourth Grade Class created a book detailing the lives of Erie Canal workers buried in the local cemetery. They used the cemetery, newspaper articles, and other documents from the local historical society to uncover individual experiences on the Erie Canal. The book connects the individual stories to the larger historical context of the Erie Canal in New York State and the nation.

Main Repositories Accessed: Pittsford Town Historian’s Office, Fulton History,

Each award consists of a framed certificate and a cash prize. Students may submit a project on any topic and can work individually, in groups, or as a class. Project formats include research paper; PowerPoint presentation; exhibit; documentary; performance; website; or proposal for historic marker. Selection criteria include the extent to which the student used historical records; a bibliography that demonstrates and explains such use; the extent to which information from historical records was used; historical accuracy; a demonstrated understanding of historical context; evidence of creativity and imagination in interpreting and integrating information from historical records with other information; clear writing; good organization; and correct grammar and spelling. The Student Research Awards are supported by the Laura and Robert Chodos endowment, private contributions, and special grants raised by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.

The 2024 Archives Student Research Awards, the 34th year of the program, is now open for entries. Entries must be postmarked no later than July 1, 2024; award winners will be notified early October 2024. Entries must be researched and developed during the July 2023 through June 2024 school year.

The New York State Archives Partnership Trust is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to keep over 350 years of New York’s rich documentary heritage within the New York State Archives accessible and alive though education, preservation, and outreach programs. The Trust also serves as host of the New York Council for History Education. The New York State Archives is the largest repository of state government records in the nation, holding over 250 million records of state and colonial governments dating back to the Dutch colonial period in 1630. The New York State Archives is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Archives is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on legal holidays. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-8955 or visiting the Archives’ website.