Orange County will be represented at the National History Day competition in Maryland

With big wins at the state level, five National History Day projects created by eight Orange County students are set to compete next month in Maryland against other top entries from across the country.

Participants from the National History Day-California competition
Students and staff from Mariposa Elementary School in the Brea Olinda Unified School District participate in the National History Day-California competition May 6 and May 7.

The local projects include two websites and three documentaries produced by middle and high schoolers from the Capistrano and Irvine unified school districts and Acaciawood Preparatory Academy, a private school. All earned bids to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest by winning their respective categories at the National History Day-California competition, which took place May 6 and May 7 at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif.

OCDE hosted its yearly county-level competition in March before sending the top performers to Rocklin. In all, more than 1,400 students representing 272 schools were invited to the state NHD event, where judges evaluated 800-plus entries. Of those, 36 projects were chosen to go to Maryland, along with the 64 students who produced them.

National History Day has been around since 1974, and it annually draws about 600,000 participants with contests at the district, county, state and national levels. Working individually or in teams, students in grades four through 12 conduct extensive research and develop elaborate projects, producing original websites, papers, documentaries, performances and exhibits.

Each year has it’s own theme, and this year it’s “Taking a Stand in History.”

The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest is set for June 10 through June 15 and will be held at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Below is a list of the projects and students that will represent Orange County. For a comprehensive list of state winners, be sure to visit the National History Day-California website.



Individual Documentary
Jeffrey Wigand: Taking a Stand Against Big Tobacco”
Jasmine Sinchai
Sierra Vista Middle School, Irvine Unified School District

Individual Website
“Taking a Stand For Urban Conservation: Sylvia McLaughlin, Kay Kerr, Esther Gulick, and the San Francisco Bay”
Ian McKernan
Shorecliffs Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District


Group Documentary
“In Preservation of Honor: Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto”
Michelle Kroll and Frances Kroll
Northwood High School, Irvine Unified School District

Group Website
”Phyllis Schlafly: Taking a Stand Against the Modern Woman”
Sophia Burick, Kelly McDonald and Kate McKernan
San Clemente High School, Capistrano Unified School District

Individual Documentary
“Watergate Exposed: Taking a Stand For the Use of Confidential Sources”
Marc Hudson
Acaciawood Preparatory Academy, a private school

Though elementary-level champions don’t advance to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest, we should note that three elementary projects from Orange County earned top honors.

Protector of the Wild: John Muir Takes a Stand to Conserve Our Natural Lands” by Charis Pan of Acaciawood Preparatory Academy, “Claus von Stauffenberg’s Stand Against the Nazi Regime” by Sean Cronin of Olinda Elementary School in Brea, and “Harriet Tubman: Taking a Stand for Freedom” by Olinda Elementary’s Jocelyn Islas were each named champions of the Individual Poster category in the state contest’s elementary division.