Thursday, June 18, 2015

Error establishing a database connection

Today was awards day for the national National History Day competition.  I attempted to sign on to the nhd.org website to watch the live videostream of the awards ceremony, and was greeted with a less than satisfactory message.

"Error establishing a database connection."

Honestly, it made me laugh, because my first thought was "I KNOW that Jenna used databases during her research!"

There is a certain satisfaction, though, that the website of this national organization was overwhelmed with hits, to the point that it failed.  That means that people all over the world (yes, world -- Guatamala, Korea, American Samoa, Guam, China, were all represented...), were logging on in support of their own "Jennas", hoping for a glimpse, or, even better, a walk across the stage.

Although I was, eventually, able to get connected, for Jenna, there was no calling of her name.  And guess what?  It doesn't matter at all.  This isn't at all about the "It is an honor to be nominated" philosophy -- it truly is much more about the journey.  The trial and error.  The continuing revision to the project after Regional, and then State level, competitions.  And then the fun of spending a few days near the nation's capital with her mentor, Liz Lewis, touring many historic places, and learning well into the days following her high school graduation.

Starting tomorrow, Jenna, and many other senior NHD competitors, will wake up as students with new labels.  They have completed their high school duties, and are now officially college freshmen.

As one judge pointed out, each and every one of them has a tremendous resource in their pocket -- a comprehensive study of a topic of passion, owned by them.  College -- and life, for that matter -- is not about reinventing the wheel.  

It's about continuing to attempt to reload that database in your mind, and produce thoughtful, insightful, quality perspective to demonstrate competency -- or continue the conversation.

Congratulations to each and every NHD competitor - from the regional to national levels.  And colleges, beware; these kids are ready to challenge you on an unparalleled level of excellence.

Especially that kid from Donegal, Pennsylvania, who now claims Bridgewater as her school.