On June 5, 2015, Gary B. Nash, former Director of the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA (NCHS), will be the guest speaker for the School of History and Dramatic Arts (SoHDA), one of four high schools on the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Complex in the northeast Los Angeles Cypress Park neighborhood. The Class of 2015 will be the first to spend all four years at the campus. Each student will receive a personally autographed copy of Nash’s Forbidden Love: The Hidden History of Mixed-Race America published by NCHS.
During 2010-11, NCHS worked with teachers from the American Studies Academy at Franklin High School to apply through LAUSD’s Public School Choice (PSC) initiative for one of the five schools that would co-exist on the new campus. The school opened its doors in the fall of 2011 and set out to blend rigorous academics with a program that not only engages students with theater but teaches stage tech skills as well. NCHS and the Public History Initiative (PHI) at UCLA have sought to support the academic ‘half’ of this unique environment with history classroom assistants and HistoryCorps interns. In the second year of operation, Brian Kovalesky, the Gary B. Nash Public History Fellow for the History Department, organized and started a schoolwide History Day. Under the current Director, Toby Higbie, and Program Coordinator Cheryl Wilkinson, PHI has continued to support History Day projects with classroom assistance as well as by providing judges on the day of presentation.