Irvine middle schoolers take top honors at virtual National History Day finals

A pair of middle schoolers from Irvine has earned first place in the 2021 National History Day competition, which was held virtually, June 13-19.

Erin Hwang and Nagyung (Anna) Cho of Sierra Vista Middle School took top honors in the Junior Group Website category for their submission, “Hangul: Communication for the Common People.”

National History Day logo

But that wasn’t the only recognition for Sierra Vista.

Classmate Hannah Cho was honored as a national finalist in the Junior Individual Documentary category for her project, “Seeing through His Lens: Lewis Hine, Exposing Child Exploitation.”

California schools placed well with eight finalists and four projects receiving first and third-place medals,​ and one teacher from San Bernardino county named as Senior Division Teacher of the Year.

“Completing an NHD project is no small feat, and it is even more remarkable given the challenges through which students and teachers have persevered this past school year,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “I commend all of the students and teachers who participated in National History Day programs across the country and around the world.”

This year, nearly 3,000 students across the United States and territories — and from programs in China, Korea and South Asia — advanced through the gauntlet of school, regional, state and affiliate contests to reach the national stage, according to NHD.

The full list of 2021 winners can be found at

For more information about National History Day in Orange County, contact NHD-OC coordinators Julie Hull and Marika Manos at, or visit the NHD-OC website at