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PHS Seniors Create Online Historical Journal

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PHS Seniors Create Online Historical Journal
Posted on 12/04/2020
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Three Portland High School seniors who excel in doing original historical research have created a digital journal so that they and other high school students can have a place to publish their historical scholarship.

“Our idea and our current mission is to create an outlet for students wishing to share their hard work and research in a published historical journal, one made specifically for high school students by high school students,” say the three co-founders and editors of The Nor’Easter High School Historical Journal, Lucy Howe, Hannah Prue, and Zoe Bertsch.

They have sent out a call for papers to high school principals in Cumberland County, encouraging them to have their students submit research-based history papers to the journal by the deadline of Feb. 28, 2021. The journal, which also serves as the three students’ senior capstone project, will issue its first edition in the spring.

Since they were sophomores, Lucy, Hannah and Zoe have been working closely with PHS history teacher Gavin Glider to do historical research and write papers based on their scholarship.

“In our sophomore year, we had the honor and opportunity to present research done in our AP U.S. History class at the Maine Bicentennial History Conference, held at the University of Maine,” the students explained in their call for papers. “Over the summer, a similar opportunity arose at the New England Historical Association's bi-annual conference at Roger Williams University. At both conferences, we attended seminars, spoke to graduate students and professors, and learned about the history of Maine, New England, and beyond.”

At the first conference, Lucy presented an essay titled "A History of Female Power;” Zoe presented a paper on "Feminism and Female Combat in the American Revolution;" and Hannah’s presentation was on "The Salem Witch Trials and Modern Day Witch Hunts."

At the second conference, Hannah presented a paper titled "Dorothea Dix and Prison Reform in the 1800s;” Zoe’s presentation was on "Harriet Tubman’s Unifying Effects on Abolitionism and Feminism;" and Lucy presented a paper titled "Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage and Beyond.”

The three said they were the only high school students at the conferences. While there, “several attendees at both conferences asked us where our work was published, as they wanted to learn more. To this inquiry, we had to sadly report that it was not yet published anywhere.”

That inspired the three to create the online journal, Glider explained. “Due to the lack of opportunities for high school students to publish research, they decided to create their own journal as a capstone project,” he said. “The goal is to expand this project over the next couple of years to encompass all of New England. All three plan to continue as editors of the journal during their college careers.”

The three journal co-founders and editors plan to include 30 papers in the journal, which may cover any topic in any discipline of history. “Whether they see this as an experience to learn, to boost their college applications, or to further immerse themselves in historical research, we hope that students will participate in this truly unique project,” the editors say.

For more information, contact PHS history teacher Gavin Glider at glideg@portlandschools.org

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 60 languages. 52 percent of the district’s students are white and 48 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced school meals.