A Historic Day for Quest Academy

Quest Academy students Alex R. and Arnav C. made history by qualifying for
National History Day for the second year in a row!

On April 24, the eighth graders competed at the State History Day Contest in Springfield, Illinois. During the ride down to the state Capitol, the students rehearsed their performance six to eight times. Their diligence and hard work paid off because their performance earned them a spot in this year’s Nationals competition!

“I cannot tell you how proud I am of these two,” Mr. Shilhanek said. “Their amount of preparation, attention to detail, drive, commitment, and enthusiasm for learning shows in earning their second trip to Nationals.”

Alex and Arnav’s topic was “Weapons of Intelligence: Dr. Eugene Lazowski, an Unsung Hero”. Dr. Lazowski and a fellow doctor found a way to create false positives for typhoid, and in doing so, helped save close to 8,000 Jewish citizens living in Poland from being sent to concentration camps.

“This is such an important person in history because of what he was able to do in the face of the Nazi regime,” Mr. Shilhanek said, “but it is even more important because his courage in the face of such danger is not well known in history. The fact that Alex and Arnav found this topic is another testament to why they produced such an amazing performance.”

Last year the duo qualified and placed in the top 20 at nationals in 2023 with their project “Bringing Down the Berlin Wall: How Gorbachev’s Leadership Crossed a Frontier of the Berlin Wall, Soviet Communism, and the Cold War”.

The is the second time in Quest Academy history where students have qualified for the Nationals competition twice. Alumna Franni O’Toole is the only other two-time national qualifier with a performance in 2009 and a paper in 2011.

Quest Academy has qualified 17 projects to Nationals in its history of competing in History Fair. This is even more impressive because students compete in History Fair and Science Fair in alternating years.

“Alex and Arnav worked on their History Fair project on their own after Science Fair started to wind down,” Mr. Shilhanek said. “I never thought I would see a second individual or group would qualify a second time again.”

The 2024 National Contest will run from June 9-14 on the University of Maryland campus.

Quest Academy will hold its own Mini-History Fair on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, where sixth graders will showcase the results of their research projects.