The New York State Archives and Archives Partnership Trust awarded the 2017 Laura and Robert Chodos Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 4-5, to Ryan Alvarez and Alexander Munguia from Drexel Avenue Elementary School in Westbury Union Free School District for their entry “The Impact of Hessian Soldiers During and Post American Revolutionary War in Westbury, New York”. The Archives presented certificates and a cash award to Ryan and Alexander at a ceremony at the Cultural Education Center in Albany recently. The Archives also recognized their teacher, Patricia Matarazzo.
Ryan and Alexander created a proposal for a historic marker for the hamlet of New Cassel in Nassau County using records from the Historical Society of the Westburys, the office of the North Hempstead Town Historian, the Society of Friends Cemetery and Quaker Burial Ground and the East Hampton Library. Using an 1873 Beers Atlas, photographs, grave marker inscriptions and a collection of family letters, the students examined the relationships between the German Hessian soldiers, who fought for the British, the Quakers and other residents of Westbury during and after the Revolutionary War. Ryan and Alexander determined that after the war many Hessian soldiers did not return to Germany but settled a rural area of Westbury now known as New Cassel. They discovered that the name was selected by land developers and reflects the homeland of the original Hessian soldiers, Hesse-Kassel, Germany. The judges commended the students for their keen analysis of local primary sources and their ability to incorporate this information into their proposal.
The Student Research Awards are named for Board of Regents Emerita Laura Chodos and her late husband, Dr. Robert Chodos, who created an endowment to encourage students to explore the wealth of historical records in New York State. The awards are presented annually to a student, or group of students, in New York State who have made outstanding use of historical records in their research. The awards recognize student work based on specific criteria: using a variety of historical records, drawing on information from those records, and interpreting and integrating that information with creativity and imagination.
“We’re proud to present the Archives Awards to recognize and celebrate individuals, organizations, and students who have done exceptional work in preserving and promoting New York’s history,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “We congratulate all the winners on their achievements and urge them to continue maintaining and researching historical records that document our heritage.”
“The Annual Archives Awards is an opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work that organizations and individuals do every day to maintain and preserve historical records,” said Regent Roger Tilles. “We’re also honored to acknowledge the exceptional work students across the state have done to incorporate archival records in their research and bring New York State’s history to life. Congratulations to all the winners."
“The Board of Regents and I congratulate the winners of the 2017 Archives Awards,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We’re proud to honor exemplary maintenance and use of archival records so our history is preserved for future generations. We applaud the student winners for their outstanding use of historical records in their research and encourage them to continue to explore New York’s rich history at archives, libraries and cultural institutions across the state.”
“The State Archives presents these awards annually to celebrate the significant role archives perform and to honor the archivists, researchers, educators and students who are analyzing and sharing information contained in New York’s historical records,” said State Archivist Thomas Ruller.
The annual Archives Awards program takes place every October, during American Archives Month, and recognizes outstanding efforts in archives and records management work in New York State by a broad range of individuals and organizations.
A complete list of this year’s award winners follows:
- Cheryl Steinbach Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Records Management:
Town of Livonia
- William H. Kelly Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Archival Program Development:
Warren County Records Storage Center and Archives
- Annual Archives Award for Excellence in State Agency Records Management Program Development:
NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
- Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository:
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of the State Archives:
Sarah F. Rose, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Disability Studies Minor, University of Texas at Arlington
- Lifetime Achievement Award for the Protection of Archives or Cultural Collections in New York State:
Richard Lord, Chief of Mitigation Programs and State Hazard Mitigation Officer, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
- Annual Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 9-12:
The following students from Tamarac High School, Brunswick Central School District:
o Sara Kuken
o Ryan Hayden
o Nate LaPlante
o Elizabeth Machnick
o Kaylan Comache
o Katherine Champagne
o Lillah Jacobson-Schultz
o Sophia Baldwin
o Anthony Styles
o Lexis Carista
o Shannon Walsh
o Hunter Yearsley
o Renna Poulin
Teachers: Michelle Furlong, Steve Pomposello and Mark Spitzer
- Annual Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 6-8:
The following student from The Wheatley School, East Williston Union Free School District:
o Manav Bansal
Teacher: JoBeth Roberts
- Annual Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 4 & 5:
The following students from Drexel Avenue Elementary School, Westbury Union Free School District:
o Ryan Alvarez
o Alexander Munguia
Teacher: Patricia Matarazzo