PANAMA CITY — Pearl Amromin always has had a special interest in history, from exploring historical sites around the world with her parents to researching the paths of those who lived centuries ago.
The Rutherford High School student said when given a history project, she’s always gone above and beyond in learning about the subject.
That passion is paying off, with her work to be showcased throughout the summer in a museum in the nation’s capital as part of the National History Day program.
Tiny house, big dream!:Chautauqua, Rutherford students converting school bus into tiny home
Accepted into 27 top colleges:Rutherford High School senior Jonathan Walker stands out
National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for sixth- to 12-grade students. The upcoming junior’s project was a website on Marjory Stoneman Douglas, an American journalist and conservationist. Amromin’s website focuses on Douglas’ life and how Douglas fought to save the Everglades.
Amromin previously had been to district and state competitions three times for National History Day but never made it to nationals. Hearing her name called was overwhelming, she said.
“I was extremely excited to find out that I had moved on to the national level. I was also ready to give my all to nationals …,” Amromin said.
When announced that she had placed second in her category and would move on to nationals during the history fair in Tallahassee, Amromin, her family and classmates erupted in applause. Pre-IB and AP History Teacher Courtney Powell said it was a surreal moment.
“They said Pearl’s name and I literally was like, ‘Oh my god,’ I couldn’t speak. Her mom was like screaming and it kicks in but we all just were like, ‘What’s happening,'” Powell said.
Exploring the life of Douglas
Amromin said she decided to do her project on Douglas after learning about her in environmental science class.
“The first unit we did was on environmentalism and environmental crises. When selecting the topic for my project, I wanted to do something with an environmental debate so I selected Douglas and her work because it was what I found the most fascinating and the most impactful to the state of Florida,” Amromin said.
The project took three weeks to finish, with another two weeks with edits for the state and national competitions, said Amromin.
“I looked into the history of the Everglades and the number of harmful projects that had been carried out there. I looked at a number of articles that assessed the damage that had been done to the Everglades and the long-term impact that it would have,” she said. “Then I began looking into Douglas’ work with the Everglades. I researched the foundation she created and found a few documentaries and videos that had been done on her efforts in the Everglades.”
Amromin added her biggest challenge with the project was staying within the word count, finding herself getting lost in all the exciting and new information about Douglas’ life.
Throughout the project, Powell and Amromin would do check-ins to examine the progress. Being from South Florida, Powell said it was interesting to see what information Amromin could find about the Florida icon.
“It’s really fascinating to watch her progression because she’ll stress out, she’ll freak out. She’ll think it’s awful and the whole time, you’re trying to give her a pep talk because it’s some of the best research like you’ve seen from a student,” Powell said.
The road to nationals
Now at the national finals, Amromin will be in Planet World, the world’s first voice-activated museum that focuses on the power of language. She is up against 199 other students from throughout the country in the website category.
Amromin said it would mean the world if she placed.
“I would cry. This has been a goal of mine for a long time and it would mean that the judges were moved by my project and my topic by the way that I conveyed it to them.”
Powell said it has been amazing to watch Pearl and her fellow classmates grow and progress, and Pearl’s accomplishment is huge for the entire school.
“It really highlights how incredible these kids are and they’ve gone through so much. And the fact that they’re still producing highly qualified work like this is huge,” Powell said of the challenges brought about by Hurricane Michael and the COVID pandemic.
Amromin said there is much the general public can take away from Douglas’ fight.
“What I took away from Marjory and her story was that you always have to persevere to see change. She pushed and advocated for the Everglades relentlessly and never stopped,” Amromin said. “I think that everyone should look at what it took Marjory to influence change and then think about something that they’ve wanted to change.”