Loading Information

Hang in there, we're processing your request...

McKeel History Club Recognized as Top 10 in the Nation

Lakeland, FL (May 2014) - The History Guild at McKeel Academy of Technology (MAT) has been selected as one of the ten National Chapters of the year for 2013-14 by National History Club, Inc.  This recognition is given to clubs who go above and beyond expectations with activities and involvement in local communities.  Started in 2006, the McKeel History Guild’s participation in county, state, and National History Day competitions is crucial in providing students the venue to for which to share their research practices with others in the forms of performances, exhibits, websites, documentaries, and historical papers. These competitions broaden the outreach of our students' research practices and historical conclusions from their point of view.  The club often raises funds for those projects that are chosen to advance to the national competition.  Each year, McKeel history students participate in a school level history fair to select the winners who will represent the school at the county level competition.  Those projects who are awarded 1st or 2nd place advance to the state competition in Tallahassee.

This year, we had 11 projects and 28 students travel to Tallahassee to compete at the state level.  Danielle Douglin placed second in the Senior Individual Exhibit category with her project titled “Injustice and Prejudice: The Groveland Four”.  She will compete at the National History Day competition in College Park, Maryland in June.

In Senior Group Performance, students Taylor Montgomery, Lucas Braddy, Madii Ryan, Nikki Sweeney, and Kristen Neville competed in a category McKeel had not previously entered.  These students worked very hard achieving a 3rd place finish, not advancing to the national competition but doing an excellent job in the state level competition with their project titled “Parenting America: The Explicit Content Label”.

Two of our teachers were also recognized at the state competition.  Mrs. Melissa Robertson won the Florida History Fair Teacher of Merit award. This award is given to teachers who exhibit excellence in the social studies classroom through the use of engaging activities and have less than five years of History Fair experience.

Mr. Dennis Dill won the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award which recognizes outstanding History Educators who have positively impacted an individual or a school program.  Mr. Dill is the sponsor of the McKeel History Guild and head of the social studies department at McKeel.

Why is History important? Reflecting on past events is an important part of growing as a society. The quote by George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is one that must be understood and appreciated as we foster an environment that encourages students to critically question the past as a means to become an active and informed citizen of our global society.  The McKeel History Guild provides a collaborative environment for any student wanting to pursue research methods in relation to historical content. Our students work with each other in such a way that they are able to dive deeper into the reasons why history happened as opposed to simply knowing the specific events occurred. This group of students' feed off of each other's enthusiasm for historical content and the primary sources used to research such events.

In addition to the history fairs, 11th grade student Bianca Oliveri took the initiative to create and submit a documentary video for a national contest and won first place for “Memorial Day: The Next Generation”.  She won a trip to Washington DC for Memorial Day from the sponsor of the contest, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  She credits her love of history, research and ability to creating the winning video with what she has learned through the History Guild.

McKeel Academy of Technology’s success as a History group rests on the foundation we all build together at the school. There are so many people who help these students redefine what is possible. We have a great Social Studies department, and many support staff who are key cogs in the History Fair process that has provided some excellent learning opportunities for our students.

McKeel Academy of Technology is a public conversion charter school in Lakeland, Florida contracted by the Polk County School Board to provide educational services to 1150 students in grades 7-12.  McKeel Academy of Technology opened in 1998 and was designated by the Florida Department of Education as a high-performing charter school in 2011.

Your message was successfully sent