We are thrilled to let you know that Maya Faulstich, rising 9th grader, won 2nd place at the NATIONAL level of the National History Day competition! Our school has never had a national winner in this intensely competitive event. Charlotte Agell, GT educator, shared that she is incredibly impressed by Maya's hard work and dedication to her project, as we all are. We are pleased to share Maya's phenomenal work here, along with her process paper below.
We are so excited that Maya's work is being recognized on the national level!
Congratulations, Maya - thank you for sharing your many talents with us!
Maya Faulstich National History 2021 Process Paper
I researched how the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) campaign in the 1950s-1970s influenced
the way we think about waste. The KAB campaign fits into the theme of Communication, The
Key to Understanding, because it effectively communicated that cleaning up waste and litter
was the individual’s responsibility, rather than the producer’s responsibility to take care of it.
I chose this topic because I am passionate about climate change. KAB had a negative influence
on the environmental movement because they shifted the responsibility for product packaging
from corporations to individuals. I read books and articles about recycling, bottle bills, other
environmental organizations and their relationships with KAB, the origins of litter campaigns and
the current state of plastic waste and pollution. I interviewed people who were around in the
1970s, and analyzed KABs ads from the time period. I also watched a documentary about the
history of the plastic industry and recycling.
I created my project as a performance, in the spirit of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with
a clear emphasis on the ghost of the past. I started out by outlining my notes and research into
a script, then found images to use in my slideshow. Once I had finished the script and
slideshow, I compiled my resources together and designed/created my costumes. I incorporated
facts and historical content into A Climate Carol because I wanted to mimic how Dickens ties
the past, present, and future together. By understanding the past and the present, we can
change our future. KAB’s past and present promotion of false solutions continue to influence
Based on my primary and secondary research, Keep America Beautiful’s Crying Indian ad is
one of the most influential public relations campaigns in history. KAB’s campaigns, which
focused on litter reduction, continue to have a lasting negative impact on the environmental
movement by communicating that litter is the problem and individual responsibility is the
solution. The public believed this message, which is just what they intended. The key to
understanding is instead to look at the entire life cycle of our plastic waste. It’s not just about
where it ends up; it’s about how plastic pollutes during every stage in its lifecycle, from
production to disposal, and how that effects our health and the environment. Putting plastic in
landfills is an aesthetic solution, not a systemic solution. This topic is significant in history and
today because it is a defining issue of this generation, and we need to know how to tackle
plastic pollution with the right solutions.