Next month, 62 award-winning history projects from California will compete in Maryland against other top National History Day submissions from throughout the country.
Among them will be eight entries from Orange County — including seven from the Irvine Unified School District and three alone from Irvine’s Sierra Vista Middle School.
For the uninitiated, National History Day contests are held at the local, county, state and national levels, challenging students to conduct extensive research on a historical topic before producing museum-type exhibits, documentaries, websites, original performances, posters or traditional research papers.
Students work in groups or as individuals on their projects, which reflect an annual theme and are judged by category. This year’s theme is “Conflict and Compromise in History.”
Held in Rocklin, Calif., the state event on May 5 and May 6 drew nearly 1,500 students from 270 schools in 27 counties, along with more than 240 historians, educators and other professionals who interviewed participants and evaluated their work.
When the state winners were announced on May 6, four projects from schools in Irvine Unified had been declared champions in the junior division, including three from IUSD’s Sierra Vista Middle School.
“There is no substitute for hard work,” Sierra Vista teacher Jonathan Millers told the OCDE Newsroom, “and I am so proud of all the work our students put into their National History Day projects.”
“I love NHD because the students become the teachers of their selected topic and the adults then have the opportunity to become the students of these worldly relevant events,” Principal Lynn Matassarin added.
Irvine’s Rancho San Joaquin Middle School also took top honors in the junior division, as did Shorecliff Middle School in the Capistrano Unified School District.
In the senior division, projects from Irvine’s Northwood, Portola and University high schools were each named champions within their respective categories.
Other Orange County schools were runners-up or took home honorable mention. But the champion entries will go on to compete at the 2018 National Contest, which will be held June 10 through June 14 at the University of Maryland, College Park.