Riley Sutherland and NHD

August 30, 2018

  When it comes to National History Day, Riley Sutherland is no ordinary student. National History Day (NHD) is a project-based competition where students research a topic in history and turn it into a project that they can compete with. While it is required for all students in the gifted ELA class, Sutherland chooses to participate in NHD outside of the class.

  “She doesn’t see this as something her teacher assigned her to do. She doesn’t even see it as just an opportunity to do something academically outside of school, she just sees it as a vehicle for doing that which she already does anyway and to do that which brings her joy,” ELA teacher Kimberly Brownlee said.

  Not only does Sutherland choose to participate in NHD, but she is also very successful in the competition.

  “I’ve gone to nationals twice. I got first place this year at regionals and then I got to go to state. At state, I got first place and so I got to go to nationals and there I got second,” Sutherland said.

  This year Sutherland’s topic was religious freedom laws in Virginia, a topic she discovered from a trip to Monticello estate.

  “I wanted to learn more about it as well as how those debates played out. When I thought about church and state relationships in America and I always just kind of assumed it was something that’s just been here from formation. Not something that was so heavily contested then as it is now, so I really wanted to learn about that,” Sutherland said.

  Outside of the NHD competition Sutherland is still very passionate about school and has a positive outlook on her education.

  “She’s so pleasant, so polite, so positive. You never hear Riley say a cross word about anyone or anything. She’s always looking for the positive or the potential in every situation and every person she meets,” Brownlee said.

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