Gouverneur teen makes documentary on his phone, receives national attention

Updated: May. 7, 2020 at 12:31 PM EDT
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GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. (WWNY) - A Gouverneur teen is receiving national recognition for a documentary he made.

Cole Siebels of Gouverneur has a knack for history and his documentary on a World War I fighting unit has earned him a spot in the National History Day competition.

"I got started with it through school, it was required to do a National History Day project. You didn't have to enter it, but you did have to do the project," said Siebles.

But Siebels did want to enter. He's been working on this project since September, dedicating countless hours to research.

"The National Archives, the Library of Congress, I reached out to several historians who sent me diaries and letters and things like that," he said.

The documentary explores the racial barriers broken by the 369th Infantry Regiment, better known as the Harlem Hellfighters.

“The story of the Harlem Hellfighters is one that isn’t told enough. Because of what they did for us, we owe it to them to tell their story and listen to their story to know what these men went through, to know what they did, and to know why they did it,” said Siebles.

Siebels says anyone has the ability explore and share history like he is. He made the award-winning documentary on his cell phone.

"I think it's important for people to learn history because what we learn from the past - that helps us in our future," he said.

Siebels is busy fine-tuning his film before he represents New York in the national competition in June.

You can watch the documentary here

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