Monday, April 10, 2017

National History Day

   "Irena Sendler was a Polish woman who was inspired to take a stand by her father's words "If you see a man drowning, you must try to save him even if you cannot swim." Irena Sendler lived these words through her actions as she saved thousands of desperate children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two. Sendler did what she believed was right, not for the promise of recogntion, but from the meer goodness of her heart. She silently stood up for what others feared and changed the stories of 2,500 children."

     She is the woman that Clare Else, Yana Gaskell, Amiritha Kumar, Abby Schaefer, and I researched for NHD. We created a performance based on her life, and went to state with it! :) Our group is beyond excited and a little nervous too.
     I totally agree with the judge's comments about our performance. They hit on some of the very things we were insecure about ourselves, and gave us suggestions on how to improve. We will use those as much as possible when modifying our project for state. In fact we found out later that one of the judges went to nationals herself, so we know their opinions are valid, and from their own experience.
     The most interesting thing I learned about Irena Sendler from research was how willing her friends were to risk their lives to help her rescue these children. It made me really want to meet Irena, a woman who could persuay over 25 people to help her during a time when back-stabbing was expected and no one could really be trusted. She must have been very admired and respected. It also fascinated me that not a single one of them betrayed her. That's some serious loyalty.
     The hardest part of the project was finding primary sources. Irena Sendler is not very well known and there was not a lot of information on her, let alone primary information. Once we found one lead though, it was as if we had opened a gold mine and the rest kept coming. We had to spend a lot of time making sure the information was valid, and trying to check it with other sources (which were few and far between.) Irena sure did a good job of making herself scarcely known!
     This project has totally improved me as a student, as a learner, and as a person. I got the satisfaction of working, and working, and working, and having it pay off. I learned a great deal about time management, organization and team work too. Plus, because this was the most difficult project I've ever done, I learned a lot about stress management too.
     I think if we added more information to our project it would greatly improve it. Even though we don't have a lot of wiggle room, the more we can pack in, the better. I think it would also help us to practice reading our lines really s l o w l y. Watching the recording I can see that we go a little too fast!
     The thing I was most proud of in our project was the emotion we were able to successfully portray in it. We made people in the audience cry with our final scene! The fact that five teenagers can put something like this together and do that to people makes me extremely proud of us. I am also very proud of the amount of our own time we have put into the project to make things happen. Without outside of school practices I don't think we could have pulled off our play! Overall it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I am really looking forward to where nationals will take us!
   

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