Daniel Wang, Kimberly Pestovich, Kaylen Pocaterra and NHD Advisor Allen Andraski, a teacher at LAHS, at Frederick Douglass House in Washington D.C. Courtesy photo
Kimberly Pestovich, Kaylen Pocaterra and Daniel Wang, all graduates of Los Alamos High School and past club members of National History Day (NHD), an academic competition focusing on history, recently won an accomplishment award from Honorable Gov. Susana Martinez for their achievement at the National Competition.
On top of this honor, they won two awards. The first award was a special prize for their focus on Native American History from the National Parks Service.
The second award was the Chronicling America Prize, for their use of the National Archives, in their research. The annual NHD theme was “Leadership and Legacy in History.”
Their project was titled, “Richard Henry Pratt and Native American Assimilation: Kill the Indian and Save the Man or Kill the Man as Well?” They utilized local resources and national archives to study Pratt’s Carlisle Indian Industrial boarding school, in which he applied militaristic fundamentals to assimilate the Indians in the “white” culture in the late 1800s.
Pratt’s unprecedented beliefs and school served as a model for additional schools which were soon built throughout the country, including one in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque. While Pratt’s leadership had good intentions, to ultimately give Native Americans a chance to succeed in the majority society, his actions ultimately deteriorated Indian language and culture, stripping students of their identities, later causing movements focused on cultural revival to develop later.
Pestovich, Pocaterra and Wang collaborated their ideas together on a website, which they took to Farmington Regionals, where they placed first in the senior group website division. Following the Regional competition, they attended the State competition at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, where they also placed first.
They then traveled to the University of Maryland and Washington D.C., where they competed against 120 groups from around the nation and various countries, earning a spot in the top 10 percent.
They are all very excited for this honorable prize that they won and want to thank Gov. Martinez.
They would also like to thank the New Mexico Humanities Council for their dedication to NHD and their sponsorship for the students through the years.
Their website can be viewed here.