Six National History Day projects from Orange County — and the 12 students who created them — have been selected to compete at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in Maryland.
The local students and their projects punched their tickets to the national event by winning their respective categories at the state-level National History Day competition, held May 6 and May 7 at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif. In all, more than 1,200 young historians from about two dozen counties in California submitted projects based on the year’s theme, “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.”
For those who aren’t familiar with National History Day, contests are staged at the local, state and national levels each year, drawing about 500,000 participants in grades four through 12. Working as individuals or in teams, students thoroughly research historical subjects based on the annual theme before developing their in-depth projects.
Submissions, which can take the form of papers, exhibits, performances, websites or even documentaries, are displayed and judged at school competitions in the winter, followed by county and state contests. Those that win at the state level are selected to compete at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest, which takes place at the University of Maryland at College Park.
This year’s final showdown will be held June 12 through June 16, and here’s a list of the projects that will represent Orange County:
ORANGE COUNTY JUNIOR CHAMPIONS (GRADES 6-8)
“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Jonas Salk’s Pioneering Exploration Into Poliomyelitis” Karen Chung and Emily Le Sierra Vista Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
“Sir Edmund Hillary, Extraordinary Explorer” Zane Pert Shorecliffs Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District
“Unlikely Explorers: The Mormon Battalion” Madelyn Knutson Lakeside Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
“Feminists in Flight: Exploring Gender Equality at 32,000 Feet” Sophia Burick, Kelly McDonald and Katherine McKernan Shorecliffs Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District
ORANGE COUNTY SENIOR CHAMPIONS (GRADES 9-12)
“Charles Lindbergh: Exploring Through Aviation, Exchanging Controversial Ideas, Encountering Hostile Criticism” Michelle Kroll and Frances Kroll Northwood High School, Irvine Unified School District
“Perry Expedition: Exchange Through Encounter of Japan” Eunji Son, Chai Won An and Kenny Chung Woodbridge High School, Irvine Unified School District
It’s worth noting that two other projects earned top honors in the state contest’s Elementary Division. “Panama Canal: Modern Marvel of Exchange” by Dylan Johnson and Magnus Oxford from Our Savior’s Lutheran School in San Clemente, and “Amelia Earhart’s Exploration in Aviation: Encountering Challenges and Exchanging a World of Possibilities for Women and Commercial Flights” by Carissa Kuan and Natalie Prim of Acaciawood Preparatory Academy in Anaheim, were both named champions in the 2-Dimensional Display Group category.
In addition, Sierra Vista Middle School teacher Jon Millers was named the National History Day-California Patricia Behring Middle School Teacher of the Year, while Deanna DeLille of Northwood High was the High School Teacher of the Year.