Monday, April 10, 2017

History Day Reflection

        Our project was a performance on Irena Sendler. Irena Sendler was a Polish woman who helped save children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Our project focused on what Irena's life was like before and during the war and how she got children out of the ghetto.

        I do agree with what the judges said about our project. They said that our project was "technically tight" which I'm glad to hear since we did work really hard on polishing our performance and making sure everything ran smoothly. One thing the judges would like us to add is how Irena was discovered by the Nazi police. I also think we should add this information to just make our performance a little more historically accurate. The judges also said that we should do more to tie our topic to the theme, which I think is a good idea so that people can clearly understand how Irena took a stand in history.

        The most interesting thing I learned about our topic was that Irena had such a large network. Before this project, I kind of thought that Irena was the only person rescuing these children and that she was acting alone. Through our research on Irena, I learned that she actually had a network of 25 people working for her. I had never realized how complex the whole organization was. If you think about it, 25 people is a lot of people to keep something as big as rescuing children a secret. Still, everyone who worked for Irena had a job to do and they were able to pull it off.

        I think that the hardest part of a project was finding primary sources. It was really difficult to find primary sources about Irena because everything she did was so secretive. Since Irena worked so hard to stay unknown, there simply were not very many primary documents for us to find. We had to work really hard to find first hand accounts of the ghetto and what Irena did. One thing that helped us a lot was a documentary that we watched. The documentary had real interviews of Irena and some of the people she worked with. This was probably our most important primary source.
        As a student, I think annotating our bibliography really helped me grow. I had never had to annotate a bibliography before this project so it was a completely new concept for me. I never had to think about how I used my sources this much. I think writing these annotations helped me grow as a student because they really helped me understand what information I got from my sources and how I was going to use this information.
        I think one way we could improve our project is adding music. I think that our project is already pretty powerful but I believe that music would just enhance what we are already trying to convey. The music would really help people feel what we are trying to get across with our performance.

        The part I'm most proud of our project is that we were able to write a whole little play to help people learn how amazing a woman Irena was and all about her life, while still making the performance entertaining and enjoyable. I'll admit, I was quite pessimistic throughout this whole project. I was worried that our performance was too long, then that it was too short, and whether we were good enough actors to really pull it off. However, I had a great group and we were able to work together and make what I think is a really emotional performance that really gets through to the audience.

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