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Students Win Awards at Maryland History Day

Maryland Humanities

Baltimore, Md. (May 27, 2020)—Nearly 600 middle and high school students submitted projects online to present their extensive historical research at the 2020 Maryland History Day competition. The competition, usually held in person, is the culmination of a year-long program from Maryland Humanities. Due to COVID-19, Maryland Humanities converted the contest to a digital format this year, with project evaluation across five categories taking place over four weeks.  In 2020, more than 25,000 Maryland students participated at the school level.

Maryland History Day, coordinated by Maryland Humanities since 1999, is open to public, private, parochial, and homeschool students in grades 6 through 12. Working solo or in small groups, students create original documentary films, exhibits, performances, research papers, or websites exploring a historical topic of their choice on an annual theme, which this year is “Breaking Barriers in History.” Maryland History Day sparks critical thinking and helps develop skills in research and analysis, writing, and public speaking.

Competitors at Maryland History Day have already won first or second place in their category at school and district levels. 

Students from seven Maryland counties and Baltimore City will represent Maryland in the National History Day competition, where they will compete among 3,000 participants from across the country and beyond. National History Day has also converted their contest to a digital one in 2020, held in June. The competition involves students from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia. Maryland History Day is an affiliate of National History Day, a non-profit education organization that promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs, including the National History Day Contest.

Support for Maryland History Day is provided by the State of Maryland through the Maryland State Department of Education, Thalheimer-Eurich Charitable Fund, WesBanco, Columbia Gas of Maryland/NiSource Foundation, Venable Foundation, and Wegmans.


Maryland Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities. Visit

Maryland History Day is an affiliate of National History Day and a year-long educational program of Maryland Humanities. Maryland Humanities produces Maryland History Day. For more information, visit Connect with Maryland History Day on Facebook and Twitter.

National History Day is a non-profit education organization headquartered in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs. For more information, visit


Maryland History Day Winners 2020—PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY

Advancers to National History Day:

Students:     Elda Berhaneyessus, Arianna Dorman, and Sa’kiya Nicholas

Award:        Junior Group Performance, Second Place

Topic:         The Edmonson Sisters: The Musical

School:       Accokeek Academy

Teacher:     Arun Puracken


Students:     Jada Ferrell and Hannah Magruder

Award:        Junior Group Documentary, First Place

Topic:         Mr. Rogers: A Neighbor To All

School:       Accokeek Academy

Teacher:      Arun Puracken


Student:      Oliviah Walton

Award:        Junior Individual Website, Second Place

Topic:         War of the Currents: Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison Feud

School:       Kenmoor Middle School

Teacher:     Carol Carter


Special Prize Winners:

Students:     Bernadette Batong, Keilly Pichinte, Jenny Taguba, and Cameron Thaxton

Topic:         Special Prize in Women’s Suffrage, sponsored by the Centennial Commission on Women’s Suffrage

Topic:         Susan B. Anthony: The Greatest Contribution in the Fight for Equal Rights

Category:    Senior Group Website

School:       Oxon Hill High School

Teacher:     Thomas Klug


Students:     Alvaro Ceron and Isha Sesay

Award:        American Women’s Suffrage Prize, Senior Division, sponsored by the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial

Topic:         The First, But Not The Last

Category:    Group Documentary

School:       Parkdale High School

Teacher:     Thomas Stavely


Students:     Nivia Thimlick and Eden Thompson

Award:        Special Prize in Legal & Constitutional History, Senior Division, sponsored by Cynthia Raposo and Joseph Furey

Topic:         “Love Shouldn’t Hurt”: Breaking the Women’s Domestic Violence Barrier

Category:    Group Exhibit

School:       Oxon Hill High School

Teacher:     Thomas Klug


Maryland History Day District Teacher of the Year: Arun Puracken, Accokeek Academy



Pride at PGCMLS: Virtual Pride Month Celebration for All Ages


Largo, Md. (May 28, 2020)—The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is proud to maintain physical and virtual spaces for Prince Georgians to gather, learn, and connect with each other. In keeping with this longstanding commitment that is fundamental to the Library’s mission, PGCMLS is celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month this June with “Pride at PGCMLS,” an initiative that features 15+ virtual programs, the launch of a new LGBTQ+ history and culture webpage, and a virtual community pride month quilt project.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first pride march in New York City in June of 1970. The march took place one year after the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 and marked a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history around the world. Two national bestselling authors, R. Eric Thomas (“Here for It”) and George M. Johnson (“All Boys Aren’t Blue”), PGCMLS staff, and community members will be featured in virtual programs that celebrate and honor powerful voices and experience of the LGBTQ+ community in Prince George’s County and the United States. Over the past year, a team of PGCMLS staff members have worked to develop new resources for staff and community members to engage with LGBTQ+ culture and topics. The “Pride at PGCMLS” initiative highlights the many ways that the Library serves and supports the LGBTQ+ community in Prince George’s County year-round.


“Pride at PGCMLS” Webpage

A highlight of the 2020 “Pride at PGCMLS” program is the launch of a new LGBTQ+ history and culture webpage (, which is part of the Library’s Prince George’s County Heritage Project. Throughout 2020, PGCMLS is developing and releasing a series of new cultural heritage webpages that celebrate some of the major cultures that contribute to the vitality of the local community. These pages provide a platform for the Library to highlight cultures year-round, beyond just heritage months. Existing pages include African American Heritage, Women’s History, Asian Pacific American Heritage, and LGBTQ+ Pride. The Library will launch new Hispanic Heritage and Indigenous Peoples and Native American Heritage pages in September and November 2020, respectively. These webpages gather featured online resources, recommended reads and streaming content, and educational content from partner organizations.


“Pride at PGCMLS” Virtual Events

Two nationally renowned and bestselling authors are featured for “Pride at PGCMLS.” R. Eric Thomas will discuss his hit debut book “Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America” (2020, Penguin Random House) on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. The collection of witty essays provides a glimpse into Thomas’ experience growing up in Baltimore and embracing his identity. Thomas is a senior staff writer at Elle online where he has written the daily pop culture and politics humor column “Eric Reads the News” since 2016. His writing for the theater has been seen on stages around the country; he won the Barrymore Award and the Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award and was a finalist for the Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association New Play Award. Off the page, he is the long-running host of The Moth StorySlams in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Writer George M. Johnson discusses his debut young adult memoir “All Boys Aren’t Blue” (Macmillan, 2020) on Wednesday, June 17 at 7p.m. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Johnson is a writer and activist based in New York. He has written on race, gender, and culture for Essence, The Advocate, Buzz Feed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. He is a columnist for AFROPUNK, and has appeared on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM as well as MSNBC. Copies of the Thomas and Johnson books are available via OverDrive as ebooks and audiobooks (

The Library’s “Pride at PGCMLS” virtual event series includes programs for children and families, teens, and adults. Prior to the COVID-19 closure, the Library planned to hold its first-ever Rainbow Family Festival on Saturday, June 6 at the New Carrollton Branch. Given that the Library is currently focused on virtual services, a special kick-off to “Pride at PGCMLS” is planned for Thursday, June 4 through Saturday, June 6, including special pride editions of several weekly virtual programs (Read-Alouds, STEM at Home, and Crafternoon), a community conversation with Roberta Phillips and members of the Library’s LGBTQ+ working group (Thursday, June 4 at 4 p.m.), a virtual “Pride at PGCMLS” trivia and happy hour event (Thursday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m.), and an all-ages LGBTQ+ reader’s advisory program (Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m.). Complete details are available at


Programs for Children and Families:

Live Virtual Read-Alouds, Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5 at 10 a.m. (Ages 2–5)

STEM at Home: Hour of Code, Friday, June 5 at 12 p.m. (Ages 5–12)

Crafternoon: Show Your Pride—Make a Collage Flag, Friday, June 5 at 3 p.m. (Families/Adults)

Bilingual Live Virtual Read-Aloud (English/Spanish), Saturday, June 6 at 9:30 a.m. (Ages 2–5)

Storytelling with ASL (American Sign Language), Saturday, June 6 at 10 a.m. (Ages 5–12)

STEM at Home: Spectroscope, Friday, June 12 at 12 pm (Ages 5–12)


Programs for Teens and/or Adults:

“Pride at PGCMLS” Trivia and Happy Hour, Thursday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. (Adults, 21+)

All-Ages LGBTQ+ Reader’s Advisory, Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. (Teens/Adults)

R. Eric Thomas on “Here for It”, Tuesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. (Teens/Adults)

“Pride at PGCMLS” Viewer’s Advisory, Monday, June 15 at 7 p.m. (Teens/Adults)

“Pride at PGCMLS” Career Chat, Wednesday, June 17 at 4 p.m. (Teens/Young Professionals)

George M. Johnson on “All Boys Aren’t Blue”, Wednesday, June 17 at 7 p.m. (Teens/Adults)

LGBTQ+ Zines Workshop, Friday, June 19 at 4 p.m. (Teens/Adults)

#PGCMLSBookChat on Twitter, Thursday, June 25 at 12 p.m. (Teens/Adults)


Virtual Community Pride Quilt

Prince Georgians have the opportunity to contribute to a virtual community pride quilt that the Library is creating on its website and for social media. Any member of the public can submit a photo or video clip that describes or documents what pride means to them. Submissions will be accepted through June 19, 2020 at 5 p.m. via email ( Submissions will be compiled into a virtual quilt that will be posted on and on the Library’ social media in late June.


“Pride at PGCMLS” and It Gets Better Project

Select PGCMLS staff are creating short videos where they discuss their own journeys as members of the LGBTQ+ community. These videos will be shared on the Library’s social media and submitted to the It Gets Better Project, a global initiative that “inspires people across the globe to share their stories and remind the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth that hope is out there, and it will get better.” Sample videos are available from Rebecca Oxley of the Greenbelt Branch Library and Chris Herrmann of the Bowie Branch Library.



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