The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

First Annual History Week to Come in January

Annually the school holds Science and Technology (STEM) Week as well as a Writers Week. The success of these themed weeks has been phenomenal and gave history teachers Mike Messner and DeeDee Pearce the inspiration for a new one: History Week.

The History Department had played with the idea of having a week dedicated to history, but this year it finally got the go-ahead from Principal Wynne Satterwhite. When she gave the department her approval, they set to work coordinating the event. History Week will take place this year from Monday, January 14, to Friday, January 18. The week will be centered around the theme of the “Pursuit of Rights.”

“The vision was History Week in terms of past present and future,” Pearce said. “The past, the history of the right, the present, the issue … going on right now and the future, now that you know these things are going on, what can you as a citizen do to make change.”

A committee has been hard at work turning this idea into a reality. The History Department aimed to have a diverse committee in terms of age to ensure that the presentations would appeal to everyone. It hopes to provide issues that will interest the student body, as students are the targeted audience, and fill the seats in order to turn this week into an annual event.

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A panel of student coordinators who helped with the design of History week have also taken the lead in organizing awareness for the event around the school. This included putting together and advertising contests to design both the permanent annual History Week Logo and this year’s “Got Rights?” poster for this year’s installment. The students aim to raise more awareness before the actual event included advertising the both of the design contests through videos on the daily announcements.

“It’s been fun but it’s been a lot of work,” lead student coordinator and senior Ellie Robertson said. “Luckily we have some dedicated parents that are helping put it together.”

The format of History Week will mirror STEM Week because presentations will take place in the Eagle Theatre during class periods, including block day periods, and periods one through six on Friday. In addition to this, there will be a panel of speakers along with a film in the Eagle Theatre on Wednesday evening. History classes will have a priority in attending these presentations, but after that any class that signs up on time is welcome.

“The hardest part about getting History Week off the ground is publicizing it,” junior Cole Limbach said. “As a student I can give the rest of the committee my feedback and let them know how the student body will probably receive the decisions that we are making now regarding History Week.”

Beyond the coordination by the history teachers, the school community has also stepped up to help get the project off the ground. Parents, as well as students and teachers, have put in a combined effort to recruit speakers through family contacts.

“For some of the topics we wanted to address, we did not have a ready speaker contact or referral,” lead parent coordinator Marion Robertson said. “In that case, we have done research to find appropriate local experts. This takes a little time, but most of the folks we have contacted have been very supportive and generous about visiting and speaking at the school.”

Both James Robertson, a federal judge from the District of Columbia, as well as Lee Rubin, who has worked with the Federal Department of Justice on several recent civil rights cases, will be presenting. Other speakers will come to talk about subjects such as gay rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights, human trafficking, bullying, Japanese Internment and the Arab Spring.

“[The Pursuit of Rights was a topic] that we thought was a really great starting point,” Messner said. “It is certainly something that every generation has to grapple with. What are [people’s] rights in different contexts?”

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