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Meet the Ridgefield High School interns!

Four Ridgefield High School seniors work to preserve history and catalog important artifacts for the Ridgefield Historical Society.

Elena Avaliani will be attending UCONN in the fall

1.Can you tell us about your background? (schooling, activities, what you like to do in your freetime, what you’re going to do after you graduate, etc)

I enjoy drawing and reading in my free time. I’m also active in sports, which keeps me busy. After graduation, I’m still exploring my major options for college and figuring out what I want to pursue. However, I definitely have an interest in history. 

2. What sparked your interest in history and led you to select the Ridgefield HistoricalSociety as your internship?

History has always been my favorite subject in school, I was always easily engaged by the material. I had heard about the Ridgefield Historical society but had never been inside. So when internships came around I decided to do a bit of research and found out that RHS offered many new opportunities.

3. What specific projects or experiences have you been involved in during your internship with the Ridgefield Historical Society in 2024? How have your projects shaped your understanding of the town’s history?

At RHS, I spend time organizing old Ridgefield press negatives, scanning books and artifacts for digital documentation, creating informational posters, and auditing the RHS website . These tasks helped me appreciate the effort that goes into preserving history and just how much history a small town holds. 

4. What was the most interesting thing you learned during this internship?

RHS provided me with many new experiences but the most interesting thing I learned during this internship was the process of digitizing historical documents and artifacts. Handling historical documents and artifacts gave me a glimpse of the lives and stories of people who lived long ago. It provided me with a rich understanding of my town’s history in a way a textbook couldn’t.

Maddie Winslow will be studying at Miami University Ohio in the fall

1.Can you tell us about your background? (schooling, activities, what you like to do in your freetime, what you’re going to do after you graduate, etc)

I lived in South Florida for the first 12 years of my life, where I attended elementary school and sixth grade. I spent seventh grade in Manhattan’s Upper East Side before I moved to Ridgefield (in the summer before eighth grade), where I’ve been ever since. I was an Irish Dancer for 10 years, doing both competitive and recreational dancing. Even though I no longer dance, I still love watching it since it is a big part of my culture. In my free time, I love hanging out with my friends, baking, reading, and working as a hostess at Hoodoo Brown Barbecue. I also love to travel. I hope to study abroad in college (although not in my freshman year). I am attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and am undecided in my major.

2. What sparked your interest in history and led you to select the Ridgefield HistoricalSociety as your internship?

My interest in history was sparked after I took AP United States History as a junior at RHS. I just loved every assignment and project from class, and found all of the content so interesting. This is why I decided to intern at the Historical Society— because of my interest in American History. 

3. What specific projects or experiences have you been involved in during your internship with the Ridgefield Historical Society in 2024? How have your projects shaped your understanding of the town’s history?

I have been involved in organizing the Ridgefield Press negatives from the early 1970’s to early 2000’s. This was our main project for our first two weeks, since all of the files were out of place. I got to see many cool pictures from this time period, including pictures of weddings and clubs from around town. I’ve also heard from an archaeologist and antiques collector who told us more about the artifacts and objects kept at the Historical Society. These projects and experiences have shaped my understanding of the town’s history because they have provided me with more information about Ridgefield and its inhabitants. 

4. What was the most interesting thing you learned during this internship?

The most interesting thing I’ve learned during my time spent at the Historical Society is that Ridgefield was settled thousands of years ago by Native Americans around Lake Mamanasco.

Jane Prusko will be attending Mount Holyoke College in the fall and will major in English and History

1.Can you tell us about your background? (schooling, activities, what you like to do in your freetime, what you’re going to do after you graduate, etc)

Right now, I’m a senior at Ridgefield High School, but I graduate next month. At RHS, I was a member of the National Honors Society and the literary magazine Lodestar, and I also sometimes volunteered at Woodcock Nature Center and the Ridgefield
Historical Society. After I graduate, I’m going to attend Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where I plan to major in English and history.

2. What sparked your interest in history and led you to select the Ridgefield HistoricalSociety as your internship?

I’ve been very interested in history since I was young. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve gotten to do a lot of travelling which definitely sparked that interest. I learned more about history in High School through taking AP courses in World History, US History, and US Government and Politics.

3. What specific projects or experiences have you been involved in during your internship with the Ridgefield Historical Society in 2024? How have your projects shaped your understanding of the town’s history?

I’ve gotten to be involved in a number of great projects at the Historical Society. Most recently, I helped set up for and sat in at this month’s History Club meeting, where I got to hear stories from and about Ridgefield’s veterans. I have also designed posters for various projects and events, such as the Historical Society’s World War II oral history collection and the Ridgefield Graveyard Restoration Committee’s cemetery tours.

4. What was the most interesting thing you learned during this internship?
Throughout this internship, I have learned a lot about Ridgefield’s past residents. One of my biggest jobs has been putting sleeves on old negatives, mostly from the 1950’s, to help preserve them. A lot of the negatives I’ve looked through have been babies, cats, and weddings, which I feel like has really given me a window into what Ridgefield life used to be like 70 years ago.

Marko Katra will study Political Science at UCONN this fall

1.Can you tell us about your background? (schooling, activities, what you like to do in your freetime, what you’re going to do after you graduate, etc)

Extracurricularly, I was a part of the Ridgefield High School Mock Trial Team, Jazz Band Boys Swim Team, and Student Government. Outside of school I am a part of the Ridgefield Aquatic Club and play guitar with the Connecticut Suzuki Guitar Academy. In my free time I love playing guitar and skiing. After high school I will attend the University of Connecticut where I will major in political science on a pre-law track.

2. What sparked your interest in history and led you to select the Ridgefield HistoricalSociety as your internship?

My father is from Poland and my mother is from Malaysia so I’ve always found history as a way to connect with my cultures. Naturally, upon moving to Ridgefield, I became fascinated with our town’s history which eventually led me to choosing the Historical Society as my internship so that I could have a more hands-on experience with learning about my town’s history.

3. What specific projects or experiences have you been involved in during your internship with the Ridgefield Historical Society in 2024? How have your projects shaped your understanding of the town’s history?

As part of my internship I’ve been tasked with organizing and placing protective coverings on negatives from the Ridgefield Photoshop in the Corker Collection. It’s been really fun seeing what life was like in Ridgefield in the 50s and 60s and seeing what people found important and how they lived back then, which has really given me a new appreciation for what everyday life was once like in Ridgefield.

4. What was the most interesting thing you learned during this internship?

The most interesting thing I’ve learned during this internship so far is how to properly document and preserve artifacts from the town’s past (both through the uploading of documents to our digital database and through preservation in the Society’s vault) so that they can be enjoyed, both digitally and in-person, for generations of Ridgfielders to come.

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