Oahu middle schoolers showcase a piece of American history in national competition

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Published: Jun. 15, 2021 at 10:09 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 10:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three Kalakaua Middle School students will be showcasing their hard work and representing Hawaii in a national competition this weekend.

Meljane Callejo, Chara Eirene Layugan and Luckey Sanchez are all part of Mr. Jaimy Valerio’s 8th grade Honors Social Studies Class.

They spent months this school year putting together a virtual exhibit board to enter into the National History Day competition.

The theme for this year was “Communication throughout history.”

The students chose to make a poster, highlighting the life of a runaway slave — Lewis Williams — to show how a network of abolitionists communicated in order to make his escape possible.

”Our project wasn’t that well-known so we had a hard time kind of finding primary sources to use from back then so we kind of based it on newspapers they had back in the time of slavery,” Callejo said.

“We just want people to know and be aware of what happened back then to African American people,” Layugan added.

The students said the hardest part of making a project about communication throughout history was actually communicating in modern times — especially because of the pandemic.

“It was pretty difficult because as a group, we were limited to the communication we had. We didn’t get to meet each other in person and work on the exhibit, but we managed it somehow,” Sanchez said.

The students collaborated on their project virtually over Google Draw.

“They’ve come so far and especially with distance learning what they were able to produce is really awesome,” Valerio said.

The three will now go up against other middle schoolers from across the country.

The winner of this year’s National History Day competition will be announced Saturday.

Their project is currently featured on the Smithsonian Museum’s website. To view, click here.

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