Three Woodmere Middle School students were awarded first prize in the junior division of the National History Day competition on June 13, after a week-long competition held at the University of Maryland.
The competition, which began in 1974, boasts nearly 3,000 student participants annually that represent communities across the United States, as well as international schools in South Korea and China. The theme of the projects varies each year, this year’s theme being “Triumph and Tragedy.”
Harley Honig, Sydney Honig and Michael Heyman topped the junior division with their performance “Without Hope Life Is Not Worth Living: The Harvey Milk Story,” portraying the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician to be elected to a public office in San Francisco. Milk, a Woodmere native, was fatally shot in 1978.
The 10-minute staging chronicled the beginnings of the gay rights movements at the Stonewall Inn in New York and the hardships faced by members of the LGBTQ community during that era to now. The students each earned the sobriquet of “National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar.”
Harley, Michael and Sydney took first in the New York state division of the competition held in upstate Cooperstown. That victory propelled them to the national contest.