Macy Mateer, a sophomore at Gulf Breeze High School with New Orleans family ties, enjoys informing her peers about the importance of history.

The United States has had a huge push to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. However, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress, only 18 percent of eighth graders have a decent understanding of our country’s history. Mateer had the opportunity to be the voice of American students on a panel to discuss how the education system can be improved to foster interest and knowledge of history.  

“I feel that in order to understand our present and future, you have to understand the past. It’s important to know who we are and why we are,” says Mateer.

Under the guidance of Grace Freeman, Mateer has been participating in the National History Day Competition for the past four years. Over 600,000 middle and high school students compete in a yearlong, intensive research event, where students are guided to write a thesis and dive into research. Each year, Mateer competed in the performance category; she won Nationals in 2013.

With the help of Cokie Roberts, Steve Scalise and the Louisiana Research Center at Tulane University, Mateer was able to bring home the Silver Medal by portraying Lindy Boggs at the competition. In addition to competing at Nationals in College Park, Maryland, Mateer was selected to present her project to the VIP Reception at the National Museum of American History – Smithsonian Institution.

“I was so honored to share Miss Lindy and her accomplishments with guests from the Smithsonian, the History Channel, Fox News, the White House Historical Association and others,” she says.

Mateer even started her own YouTube Channel called “History Happens” as a way to get students interested in the subject. She wants to show students that history is simply great stories and is all about the execution of the storyteller.

At Gulf Breeze High School, Mateer is involved with Student Government and the International Thespian Society. She is also involved with the Optimist Ortorical Contest, and won the state competition two years ago.

In the future, she hopes to have her own morning news show to give youths straight news, with no hype, spin or sensationalism, “You see, if I energize young adults through broadcasts, they’ll become knowledgeable, interested and hopefully involved. So when the time comes for them to vote or volunteer, they can make educated decisions.”