A Look into the MHS History Club

History is defined as “the study of past events” but the History Club at Malden High School is giving a whole new meaning to history.

On Thursday, October 13th, the club will host a movie night as a fundraiser hoping the event would also generate interest in the History Club and the work it does. Along with movie night, the club is planning a debate night for students to develop and present informed arguments allowing them to contribute their voices to topics.

These events reflect the goal of the club: to create a space where history can be educational but equally as interesting and enjoyable. Secretary Fatima Lhaloui says that “being in a club and having a say in a safe place that everyone can go to and express their opinions without being judged, is the most important aspect of History Club.”

Damian Aufiero, one of the club’s advisors, tells of his relationship with history from the very beginning. He says that, “in high school [he] had an idea that history was fixed and that nothing changed in the past but really, history is always changing [and] there’s no clear picture of what history is, it changes based on who you ask.” To him, history is the collective story of all humans which is why creating and maintaining a safe and familiar environment for students to talk about history is so important.

To Michelle Filer, the club’s other advisor, history is how the past is interpreted and the History Club is “a way to go outside the classroom and pursue your own interests in history.” She hopes that History Club can allow its participants to think about history broadly and begin to develop their own identity.

The club is student run which is what sets it apart from many other clubs at MHS. Filer and Aufiero both tell of the importance of having the focus on student’s interests, accomplishments, and thoughts; a club run by the students and for the students.

The History Club’s academic journal “The Optimist” allows students to submit academic writing to be published and even the idea of debate night was conceptualized by a student. The club was created to address the need for a student centered conversation to occur about things that have happened in the past and how they affect the present.

Co-president Alexa Murray interprets the club’s purpose through personal experience saying that, “joining history club helped [her] connect it all together, what you learn in history class shapes how you view today’s problems”.

The History Club has been and continues being a way to connect history to current events, connect what happens in class to what is happening in the real world, and connect with others as well.  Now its goals are to continuing inspiring students to use history as a lens for viewing and solving current issues.

The club is currently addressing Columbus Day hoping for a change or compromise that would introduce Indigenous People’s Day honoring the lives of native peoples who lost their land to foreign invaders. The club is dedicating itself now to researching and soon will be sharing the proposal with the city but many new projects are already in view.

The History Club is hoping to get involved with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and the Malden Historical Society but even with an abundance of project plans for the future, it’s important to also focus on the history being made in the present.

The two co-advisors have final hopes for the club and its members. Aufiero hopes that “in 100 years, if they look back at the first “Optimist” the History Club produced, they can see what some of their story was”. Filer hopes students can ask themselves what it means to be an American and allow the History Club to help them find their identity and the narrative they want to tell about themselves, to find their history.

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