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Local Students Shine in State History Competition

Two Projects From Sacramento County Students Move Forward to National Contest

History Day displays: Paving the Way and Korematsu vs. United States.

Two exhibits from students in Sacramento County were selected to advance to the national competition.

After months of intensive research and success at district- and county-level competitions, champions were recognized yesterday at the 2020 state competition, National History Day—California, which was held virtually this year.

Sixty-two students will represent California at the National History Day virtual competition, to be held June 14–18, 2020. Two Sacramento County student projects from the Senior Division will move forward to the national competition:

  • Paving the Way: Boston Marathon Women
    Kayla Poe
    Franklin High School (Elk Grove USD)
  • Korematsu vs. United States: I Am American
    Diane Dang, Christine Duong, and Mandy Lu
    Monterey Trail High School (Elk Grove USD)

Three Elementary Division poster projects from Sacramento County also won state champion status. (Winners from this division do not advance to a national competition.) State champions from Sacramento County include:

  • Little Rock Nine: Heroes of the Struggle for Black Equality
    Laine Elliott, Julia George, Lizzy Hickey, and McKenna Irish
    Mariemont Elementary School (San Juan USD)
  • The Boston Tea Party
    Arjun Seshadri and Ihsaan Tariq
    Theodore Judah Elementary School (Folsom Cordova USD)
  • The Tuskegee Airmen: Unsung Heroes of World War II
    Suhaas Mudlapur, Hari Shankara Narayanan, and Sriram Shankara Narayanan
    Theodore Judah Elementary School (Folsom Cordova USD)

Runners-up and honorable mentions from Sacramento County include:

  • “One Half of the World Does Not Know How the Other Half Lives”: How Jacob Riis’ Muckraking Broke Barriers in the Gilded Age
    Historical Paper Category
    Lea Han
    Vista del Lago High School (Folsom Cordova USD)

  • From Radiation to Deadly Diseases: Breaking Barriers Through Blood and Marrow Transplantation
    Individual Website Category
    Clara Carroll
    Mira Loma High School (San Juan USD)

  • Apollo 11: Mission Impossible
    Individual Exhibit Category
    Kaylin Irish
    Arden Middle School (San Juan USD)

The competition was held virtually in response to stay-at-home orders in place because of COVID-19. Co-Coordinators Craig Irish, from the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), and Whitney Olson, from Sonoma County—along with a team of volunteers—created an online platform that allowed students to present their carefully constructed projects online for a panel of judges to review.

Nearly 1,700 students—from 294 schools across 29 counties—competed at the state level in 2020. Students engaged in project-based learning and chose their own topics of study, which needed to be connected to this year’s theme: Breaking Barriers in History. In total, more than 600,000 students across the country participate in the year-long National History Day program each year, and more than 40,000 students participate across California.

A list of all statewide champions is available on the National History Day—California website.