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Ford's Theatre Spotlights JP Schools Student for National History Day Competition

A Jefferson Parish Schools student is one of only three from Louisiana selected to be featured in virtual showcases at cultural institutions across Washington, D.C. Tom Benson School student Ivelisse Santos' National History Day project is one of nine oratory performances chosen for the Ford's Theatre Performance Showcase. National audiences can experience these student performances exclusively on the Ford’s Theatre website from June 13-27.

Santos' project is called Mendez v. Westminster: Equal Education and the Fourteenth Amendment. The video performance centers on a 1947 civil rights case about equal education. It is a civil rights debate for equal education for all. Her teacher for the project is Esther Perez-Zemmels. The performance addresses the 2022 National History Day theme of Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.

The performances are devised and performed by middle and high school students competing in the 2022 NHD National Contest, and were screened and selected by Ford’s Theatre staff. Aligned with the Ford’s Theatre mission, featured NHD student projects span the influence of President Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and legacy from the Civil War era to the Civil Rights Movement, with a focus on African American history and civic engagement.

National History Day is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park.