Five members of the Wilton High School History Club will compete at the Connecticut State History Day Contest on May 9, after their J. Alden Weir: Painting a Legacy project won second place at the Connecticut History Day Fairfield Regional Contest on Saturday, March 21.
Claire Graham, Elizabeth Lynch, Mary Lynch, Hana Perevite and Isabel Saltzman earned second place in the contest’s “group exhibit” category.
Twelve members of the Wilton History Club participated in the inaugural event, hosted by Fairfield University, where participants were required to select a historical topic and develop a project that exemplifies the theme of “Leadership and Legacy.”
The other two Wilton projects focused on “Benedict Arnold: A Man Without a Country” and “Ella T. Grasso: Changing the Political Norm.”
Members of Wilton High’s history club began working on their projects in the fall, and unlike students from other high schools, they did not have the opportunity to work on them in their daily history classes. Instead, they completed their projects outside of the normal school day.

The students presented their work to a panel of judges, comprised of social studies teachers from local school districts and college professors from around the state, who questioned each group about the inquiry process and their products.
The five Wilton students moving on to the state competition will compete at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, where prizes will be awarded, in addition to selecting the top three finishers in each category.
First- and second-place winners will be invited to the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland, which will take place June 14-18.
Wilton High School’s history club is being piloted this year, after several students and social studies teacher Kenneth Dunaj decided they wanted to create an extra-curricular academic activity that allowed students to engage in historical thinking.
The goal of the club, which is open to all Wilton High School students, is to allow students to celebrate their appreciation for social studies beyond the classroom, while offering them the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.
Click here to learn more about History Day in Connecticut.