Dear Mr. H…..

This is not an advice column…it’s just a new feature on my blog where I will share some of the more interesting questions I get from students. My answers are my thoughts to that student at the moment…but I’m sharing them with you to ask for feedback. What did I miss? Where am I wrong? I appreciate any accolades as well, but mostly I’m looking for insights of what else I should have told the student. Oh, and I’m going to keep the names of the students anonymous, but to help me remember I’m going to give them a coded name that only I remember (or at least hope to!).

So without further ado, here are two questions from this week’s batch that I think are worth sharing and throwing out for public scrutiny….

A student with a name shared by a character in Pulp Fiction asked,
Question: “Why do kids’ parents limit their potential?”
Mr. H. responded:  “That’s a tough one to answer. Being a parent is a tough job. If you do too much for your kid, that makes their life too easy. If you don’t do enough, it makes their life tough. But sometimes having an easy life is good because it gives you opportunities later on. But sometimes having a less-than-easy life is good because it makes you better know how to do things for yourself. A lot of things that provide potential cost a lot of money. You can’t give your kids all the things they want if you can’t pay the bills for the house. 

Potential is something you have an unlimited supply of all on your own. If a child’s potential is being limited by parents, it’s not being taken away, it’s just being given time to cook longer, to percolate. Sometimes this feels like it’s limiting us, but a lot of times it actually gives us time to be more ready to use it later on, when parents aren’t able to have as much control. The main job of parents is to keep their kids safe and secure. If a child has those things, then their potential has space to grow and build-up. It might not be able to come out just yet, but the more you look for ways to express your potential, the more ways you’ll find. So keep looking. Keep asking. Keep building your potential so when the opportunity presents itself, you are ready. 

 

Another student, whose name could be a nickname for Babar, asked, “Is everyone a leader in their own way? How do you know when you have become a leader? Some people won’t come up to you and say, ‘You have really inspired me or something like that.’ So how do you know?”

That’s a great question and I think that was the point of the TED Talk video by Dudley Drew you don’t really know when you are making an impact so keep on trying. I think there are two things to think about by your question:

  1. Can you make sure to thank people who inspired you and led you to great things? Can you be one of those people who helps others see their leadership and their impact by recognizing them? It doesn’t take much, but you can help people realize their power by telling them how they empowered you.
  2. I think Dudley Drew’s point was that leadership is what we do when we are sharing our passions, when we are working harder than others doing what we enjoy or feel is important. It’s more of the daily greatness on a regular basis, than some great thing on a single day.

When we think leadership has to look magnificent, we wonder if we are capable and doubt we could do it. Great leaders wouldn’t exist without the work of many leaders working with them. Martin Luther King, Jr. is known as a great leader, but the work of the civil rights movement was done by hundreds of people in hundreds of towns. Each of those thousands of people were leaders who greatly impacted the lives of other people. Each of those thousands also put their lives at risk, and some of them lost their lives, just as much as a person who happened to get the spotlight and the cameras. In a classroom, the teacher is seen as the leader, but every student has the potential to be a leader. When you were put into a group and you helped others in group get started. When you told other people in your group that it’s okay to work slower than you wanted to so that a student who read or processed slower could understand, you were being a leader. That student might never tell you “Thanks for sticking up for me” but did you do it because you’d get thanked or because it was the right thing to do? There’s not enough space in this world for everybody to have a statue built in their honor, but there are plenty of spaces where you can lead by showing others the right thing to do and then doing it.

Salk team gives solid performance at regional History Day heading confidently into first-ever ‘Virtual MN History Day’

APRIL 14, 2020—ELK RIVER, MN—Amidst the numerous athletic contests and academic competitions that have been cancelled this spring, Minnesota History Day continues on with students participating virtually, teachers coaching virtually, and the state History Day staff working remotely instead of in their offices at the Minnesota Historical Society. This has added a layer of complexity onto this successful academic program, but thousands of students and teachers across the country have risen to the occasion, and the team from Salk STEM Magnet Middle School is fully on board.

A total of 82 students advanced from Salk’s school level History Day competition, which was held in late February when schools were still in session. Two weeks before the regional event was to take place, Minnesota History Day made the decision to have their remaining regional events go virtual to comply with the Governor and Minnesota Department of Health recommendations. “It required all of us to make a big shift but I’m so proud of the students for sticking with it and working with the teachers to figure out how to do this,” said Ron Hustvedt, Salk Social Studies teacher and one of the school’s History Day coaches. 

Those 82 students submitted projects electronically and a team of two to three judges evaluated their projects and selected the top ones to advance to state. A total of 37  students from Salk Middle School’s STEM Magnet program qualified for state, making it one of the top schools in the state. Six students were also awarded with honorable mentions for their projects. Add it all up, and Salk students have shown that they are the embodiment of one of the strongest History Day programs in the state and nation.

“The teachers here work very hard to get all 500 of our participating students to successfully finish a project, that’s the first real victory, advancing to regions and state is just the icing on the cake,” saidHustvedt. National History Day is an inquiry project where students choose a topic based on an annual theme, conduct extensive academic research, create a final presentation, and share it with an audience.

Students from Hustvedt’s classes advanced to regions and state, as did students from teachers Scott Glew, Nikki Tripp, Maranda Cameron, and Starrsha Wolff. “This group of teachers is like a dream team because we all work together well and supporting student success is our number one goal—we want the kids to enjoy all the hardwork and push themselves to achieve more than they would have believed possible.”

The state contest will also be virtual, a first for the contest that’s been in Minnesota since 1980. Salk students will compete with over 1,200 students from across the state. Every single state contest this year will be held virtually, with the national competition being totally online as well. The Minnesota History Day office will broadcast the announcement of students advancing to state and receiving special prizes on Sunday, May 3 on Facebook Live. 

Besides selecting their own topic, students also get to select the way they will communicate their learning to the public. Students can write a 10-minute performance they star in; create a 10-minute documentary: write a 2,000 word paper; create a museum display; or, create a fully interactive website. Each project is organized around a thesis statement and students create annotated bibliographies demonstrating extensive research, often with 30 or more reliable sources including interviews with hall of famers, best selling authors, historians and people who made history.

Best of luck to all Salk students advancing to state History Day!

Students who received Honorable Mention at Regions include: Madison Cloud, Alexandria Schwartz, Kiana Hilary, Macy Shearer, Julia Werner, Lidia Felgate, Audrey Horner and Lillianna Yang. While their projects do not advance to the state competition, their work was amongst the best.

Students Advancing to State

Group Documentaries

  • Finley Mortenson & Anna Voigt
  • Hannah Leko & Ava Oblinger

Individual Documentaries

  • Kayla Christy
  • Ronny Hustvedt
  • Melody Kpahn

Group Exhibits

  • Leila Bakri & Olivia Riewe
  • Ady Bollinger & Ava Kallunki
  • Macy English & Brianna Sherman
  • Haillie McCartney & Maliyah Ritthirak

Individual Exhibits

  • Kendall Trost
  • Makayla Petz
  • Riley Sampson

Group Performances

  • Abby Huselid & Elizabeth Kubicka
  • Holly Narr & Olivia Smith

Individual Performances

  • Lamasajor Jalloh
  • Faith Wilkinson
  • Lengxing Yang

Group Websites

  • Elijah Lassle, Isaac Sydow & John Tran
  • Katana Bouathong & Molly Felgate
  • Paige Padilla & Allison Rinehart

Individual Websites

  • Samaira Khan
  • Kai Paulsen
  • Morgan Peterson
  • Jenna Weatherly
  • Lillianna Yang
  • Ella Olofson

Papers

  • Jillian Huntington

 

Salk Students who advanced to Central Regional History Day 2020

Group Documentaries

  • Finley Mortenson & Anna Voigt
  • Hannah Leko & Ava Oblinger
  • Madison Cloud & Kiana Hilary

Individual Documentaries

  • Velada Akhaphong
  • Gianni Artisensi-Skime
  • Kayla Christy
  • Ronny Hustvedt
  • Melody Kpahn
  • Alexandria Schwartz
  • Cecilia Xiong

Group Exhibits

  • Haley Bauer & Abbee Shenkle
  • Cameron Mielke & Anna Murphy
  • Leila Bakri & Olivia Riewe
  • Ady Bollinger & Ava Kallunki
  • Macy English & Brianna Sherman
  • Bentley Casey & Jack Langlais
  • Haillie McCartney & Maliyah Ritthirak
  • Laura Flahave & Kailey Palm

Individual Exhibits

  • Andrew Albert
  • Lidia Felgate
  • Kendall Trost
  • Makayla Petz
  • Taylor Rice
  • Riley Sampson
  • Macy Shearer
  • Jack Stubbs
  • Julia Werner
  • Amelia Schwieters

Group Performances

  • Roshia Cooper, Fatu Sesay & Gaoia Vue
  • Abby Huselid & Elizabeth Kubicka
  • Holly Narr & Olivia Smith

Individual Performances

  • Dorcas Aroloye
  • Lamasajor Jalloh
  • Paige Murray
  • Cassius VanAvery
  • Faith Wilkinson
  • Lengxing Yang
  • Ashley Stoltz

Group Websites

  • Elijah Lassle, Isaac Sydow & John Tran
  • Katana Bouathong & Molly Felgate
  • Gabrielle Carlson, Greta Harder & Alicia Rothstein
  • Paige Padilla & Allison Rinehart
  • Logan Addy & Tyler Coudron

Individual Websites

  • Olivia Filas
  • Audrey Horner
  • Samaira Khan
  • Kai Paulsen
  • Morgan Peterson
  • Jenna Weatherly
  • Lillianna Yang
  • Ella Olofson

Papers

  • Henry Boese
  • Kendra Cardinal
  • Tabitha Eagle
  • Jillian Huntington
  • Karaline Johnson
  • Chiashee Ly
  • Duaja Ly