It’s not every thirteen-year-old who will tell you, “I’ve wanted to be a polyglot since I was four.” But then again, Aryasp Nejat (who speaks Farsi, English, Spanish, and “dabbles in Mandarin and Japanese”) is not just any thirteen-year-old. He’s been taking National History Day by storm for the past couple of years, won at the state level recently, and is preparing to head east to represent Arizona in the National History Day competition in DC.
This week, we have had the immense pleasure of working with Aryasp as he’s been in doing some final touches on his bibliography for his César Chávez project. He will be doing a performance entitled “La Causa” highlighting the struggles of Latino migrant farm workers and the work of Chávez. (Because of his work on the project, Aryasp also got to attend the dedication of the César E. Chávez National Monument in Bakersfield, where he met President Obama). Last year, Aryasp’s project focused on Wallace and Ladmo, the iconic Phoenix-based children’s television show that ran from the 1950s until the 1980s, a project that is detailed more HERE.
In addition to discussing the pros and cons of MLA versus Turabian, we also learned that Aryasp is studying college-level math, and hopes to pursue engineering at M.I.T. someday. (Despite his penchant for history, he thinks he’d prefer to keep it as a hobby). Aryasp schooled us on how stiff the competition is for National History Day at the national level – he will be competing with students from all over the world, including folks who travel from American schools in the U.S. Territories, Singapore, and China. Despite the competition, we think that this young man has a great shot. Good luck, Aryasp! We’re all pulling for you!