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Aug 26, 2020 Washington, D.C.

Today, the White House Historical Association released a special episode of The 1600 Sessions podcast congratulating the winner of the National History Day White House History Award. Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, speaks with tenth grader Jack Ghormley about his winning documentary and why history is so important to understanding both past and present.

Ghormley’s documentary, which was researched and produced for nearly one year, focuses on the fireside chats for which former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was known and looks at how these radio broadcasts evolved presidential communication.

Speaking of the moment he found out he won, Ghormley shares, “I was on the couch watching the live stream and I stepped outside and I heard my family cheering and then I went back in to see my name with the White House History prize and I think I might have almost passed out. I was just ecstatic, and it was amazing.”

According to Ghormley, National History Day is ingrained in the culture of his hometown, Conway, Arkansas, which encouraged him to explore this passion. On why he believes studying history is so important, Ghormley says “you have to look back to see what’s coming into the future.”

“We’re really proud of you for winning this award and I’m happy to say that the White House Historical Association funds this particular project, and we were excited to watch your video that came out of this,” said McLaurin.

Watch Jack Ghormley’s winning documentary, “The Fireside Chats: FDR Breaking Barriers in Presidential Communication,” here.

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. To hear the full episode, visit

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About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit

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