Kutztown students advocate for National History Day at Sen. Toomey’s office

Kutztown students visited Sen. Pat Toomey’s Lehigh Valley office on April 13 to advocate for National History Day. Marta Gabriel, Maya Workowski, Beth Patten, Samuel Arnold, Dr. Eric Johnson, and Carolyn Wasser.

On April 13 Senior Maya Workowski, Junior Sam Arnold, National History Day advisor, Carolyn Wasser, KU History professor and KASD school board member, Dr. Eric Johnson, and Kutztown Area Middle School 7th Grade Social Studies teacher Beth Patten traveled to Senator Pat Toomey’s Lehigh Valley office.

“We met with his Lehigh Valley Regional Manager, Marta Gabriel, to express our concerns about proposed budget elimination of the National Endowments for the Humanities and National Endowment for Arts. The National Endowments for the Humanities is a sponsor of National History Day,” said Patten.

Patten said Maya quoted American University and Franklin and Marshall University acceptance letters and their praise for her National History Day research work.

“She explained that it helped her obtain a an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Industrial History,” said Patten.

Sam quoted the budgetary dollars cuts and spoke about his research work.

“He spoke about his internship with the Cold War Museum and his interviews with Francis Gary Powers Jr., son of U-2 Spy Plane pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down and held prisoner, and Sergi Khrushchev, son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev,” said Patten. “He also spoke about his interview with John and Bonnie Ranies, anti-war activists that exposed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI through a secret burglary. The day after Sam’s NHD interview the Ranies leaked themselves to the media.”

According to Patten, National History Day reaches a half million students and 30,000 teachers annually.

“In Pennsylvania there are over 8,000 students that participate in the program at the regional, state, and national levels,” she said. “This small program has done so very much for our students at Kutztown. Tiny Kutztown has sent students to the national level since 2001. “

While Patten said Toomey’s office was gracious enough to meet with them and hear their concerns, she said it was disheartening to see Marta Gabriel take the 81 National History Day support letters collected from the National History Day regional contest in Maneheim, PA.

“I reminded her that they were from children, parents, and teachers and that a 12 year old was just writing in support of a program that they loved,” said Patten.

The social studies teacher encourages the public to contact Toomey by mail at Senator Pat Toomey, Allentown Office, 1150 S. Cedar Crst Blvd., Suite 101, Allentown, PA 18103 or call 610-434-1444 or 202-224-4254.

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