Moriarty High School’s team sent 16 teams to the state competition for National History Day—and 12 of those teams qualified for the national competition.

Students were on hand at Smith’s in Edgewood this weekend raising funds to make the trip in mid-June. Each must raise $750.

Xavier Romero is in 10th grade. He said his project entailed researching the topic for four months. He then did a performance in character, as Roy Olmstead, a bootlegger in 1940 who had a case reach the Supreme Court.

“It is awesome—I’ve learned so much,” Romero said. “You really want to strive for it, and work for it and when you get it, it is such a huge accomplishment.” This will be Romero’s second trip to the national competition.

Royal Page is part of the team. In middle school, he is the nephew of teacher Amy Page, who has led the team now for 11 years, first as a middle school program. “The Moriarty National History Day program started 11 years ago when we had one group of kids who happened to make it to nationals,” she said. “I started sponsoring kids for a number of years while I was working on my teaching degree. … Each year we’ve added a few teams.

Five years ago, the school district added the program as a for-credit class in independent research.

Royal Page and his team created a website about Crimestoppers, which was started in Albuquerque. He said creating the website was easier than the research. “It was pretty fun to do, I guess,” he said. “This was my first time doing it.” He plans to participate again next year.

Another Page, 9th-grade student Rebekah Page, is also related to the teacher—her mother. She also helped with the project on Olmstead.

“I’ve definitely gotten better writing skills,” she said, “and my interview skills, because it was kind of hard at the beginning, but it’s gotten better talking about your project.”

Rebekah Page said her mom does a good job separating her role as a parent from that of a teacher.

Amy Page said last year the school district took 16 students to the national competition, and this year that number is 19. “They are really excited, and they are working really hard. … So I think it’s critical with this to note that the kids aren’t just doing research—they are putting together 20- to 40-page annotated bibliographies to support their work, and they are doing interviews of people who actually touched the history.”

Page attributes much of the students’ interest and motivation with National History Day projects to the self-directed nature of the program. “They choose the topic they want to research. They choose the way they want to present it. My role is not to force that but to facilitate it, and to help them pick projects that reflect the annual theme.”

Special awards were given for Jewish History in a group project by Madison Satterfield and Olivia Chavez; for Western History for a group project by Kacie Armendariz, Ashley Gleason and Elijah Wildenstein; for Civil Rights History for an individual documentary by Jessica Armijo; and third place for an individual website for Erin Serrano.

National qualifying teams include second-place winners at the state competition for Junior Group Website, by Angel Armenta, Royal Page and Henry Schuett; for Senior Group Performance by Caden Manning, Jaron Manning, Rebekah Page, Audrey Pearce, and Xavier Romero; for Senior Individual Website by Akash Patel; for Senior Group Exhibit by Sara Lehnart and Senior Paper by Laura Ornelas.

First-place winners, also going to the national competition, were Senior Individual Exhibit by Tyla Ware; Senior Group Exhibit by Samantha Berry, Sage Bond, Grace McCleave and Martin Tapia; and Senior Group Documentary by Ashley Strader.