Afuso Wins Legacy Award at NHD Nationals

Jenna Nakanishi, Community Editor

This past summer, Class of 2018 alumnus Travis Afuso won the Legacy Award for his project at the National History Day (NHD) Contest, held from June 9 to 13 at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Legacy Award recognizes a single student for their creative talents as well as their dedication to public service. A student must be nominated by their teachers and compete at the national level of the NHD competition in order to be considered, with the final winner decided by a council of NHD state coordinators. Afuso entered the contest in the Senior Division with an individual performance titled, Operation Overlord: Triumph of Cooperation, which was focused on the compromises made by the world leaders in preparation for the Battle of Normandy on D-Day.

    “I was very proud of Travis throughout the different stages of the competition,” said Social Studies teacher Amy Boehning, who served as a mentor to Afuso on this past year’s project.

    Afuso’s project drew initial inspiration from the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom program that he and Boehning participated in the year before. This program engages teams made up of a student and teacher in a study of D-Day and World War II through discovering the sacrifices made by a Silent Hero. Their research eventually led them to the gravesite of their soldier in the Normandy American cemetery in France. “While in Normandy, France we began the discussion of a History Day project. Upon our return Travis began the process of researching and creating a performance. I provided guidance through academic discussion,” said Boehning.

    Afuso’s reasoning behind the completion of his project is largely self-driven. “It is important to note that this project was done completely outside of class. Travis did not research (for) any grade or extra credit. His work was for the love of learning. After each win I gave Travis the option to withdraw and focus on his other extracurricular activities. Travis chose to be challenged,” said Boehning.

    In Boehning’s eyes, the experiences Afuso gained throughout the completion of his project resulted in new insights that can help him in his future endeavors. “Looking at an issue through multiple perspectives is skill many in our society lack today. Travis did great reflecting the multiple perspectives in his project. This skill is definitely one he will use in his future occupations,” said Boehning. “Another influence of NHD is time management and deadlines. Travis was very busy his senior year and learning how to manage time will also help with future success.”

    Afuso is now a cadet at West Point Military Academy and was unavailable for an interview.