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Virginia Museum of History & Culture announces History Day winners

virginia museum of history & cultureThree hundred students representing 55 schools competed at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond for the chance to move on to the National History Day national contest.

Fifty-eight students that placed in the top two in their category advanced to the NHD national contest, which will be held virtually in June. In addition, 37 students received special topical awards presented by various state and national cultural institutions, with honorariums totaling more than $10,000.

Students in grades 4-12 created projects on historical topics of their choice in one of five categories (Documentary, Exhibit, Paper, Website, and Performance), relating their topics to this year’s National History Day theme of Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.

For a complete list of this year’s winners, visit the VMHC’s website, linked here.

Virginia History Day is the state affiliate of the National History Day program. Similar to a science fair, but for history, the National History Day Contest was founded in 1974 to inspire students to conduct original historical research. Since its creation, the contest has grown into an international competition with more than half-a-million participants and thousands of dollars in scholarship awards and prizes annually.

“Creating a project for the National History Day Contest is challenging. It requires hard work and dedication. But, it also provides great reward,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day® executive director. “The skills of conducting research and recognizing credible sources are crucial to increasing civic engagement in young people.”

From the Richmond area, 39 middle school students from Swift Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County participated in the contest. Their winners include eighth-graders Markiya Johnson, Kaia Cundiff, and Mona Ramierez, who placed second in the Junior Group Exhibit category with their project, “Women’s World in World War II.” Swift Creek Middle eighth-graders Evan Learn and Jaedin Bardin won the John Marshall Center Prize for Political History & Civics, a $250 award, with their website entitled, “Separate but Unequal: Brown v. Board of Education.”

In addition to these student winners, Henrico County’s John Randolph Tucker High School teacher Katherine Snow won one of the seven awarded VHD District Teacher of the Year Awards in recognition of her excellence in teaching, which came with a $150 prize.

Fifty-three students from the Hampton Roads region participated in the state contest. Winners include Williamsburg-James City Co.’s Lois Hornsby Middle seventh-grader Adrian Kiser, who won second place in the Junior Individual Exhibit category with a project entitled, “Women’s Fashion of the Progressive Era.” In the high school age division, York Co.’s Grafton High 12th-graders Georgia and Caroline Berg won first place in the Senior Group Documentary category with their project, “Roger Sherman: Creator of the Connecticut Compromise.”

Eight students from Haycock Elementary School in Falls Church won first place in their category. In the Junior Group Performance category, sixth-graders April Sheng and Hannah Wibowo won first for their project entitled, “The Protestant Reformation.” Winning an award for her many years teaching NHD with her students was Haycock Elementary’s Jill Shull, who won the Brenton S. Halsey Teaching Excellence Award and its $500 honorarium.

Several students from West Springfield High in Fairfax County also did well at the state contest, including 10th-graders Sarayu Jilludumundi and Ishi Valpula, who won first place in the Senior Group Website division for their project entitled, “The India-Pakistan Divide: The Overlooked Debate Behind the Partition.”

Several students from the Lynchburg region won awards at this year’s contest. From Bedford County’s Liberty High, 11th-grader Sara Johnson won first place in the Senior Individual Performance category with her project, “Shenandoah National Park: Debate and Diplomacy Leads to Displacement.” In addition, Liberty High 11th-grader Makayla Branham won the $1,000 Betsy S. Barton History Day Scholarship for her documentary entitled, “The Recognition of the Monacan Nation: Debate and Diplomacy.” This award is presented by the Virginia Humanities in recognition of a superiorly researched and presented history project.

From the Charlottesville region, winners include William Monroe High 9th grader Caroline Bruton, from Greene County, who won second place in the Senior Individual Documentary category with her project entitled, “The Kitchen Debate: Debate and Diplomacy Through the American Kitchen.”

In addition, winning the Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance’s Latino History Award was Lylburn Downing Middle School seventh-grader Dahlia Obiedat and her project “Debate and Diplomacy: The Effects of Coca-Colonization in Mexico After World War II.” For studying this important topic, Obiedat received a $250 prize.

From Southwest Virginia, winning students include Blacksburg New School seventh-graders Dennis Brown, Jonah Colliver, and Serena Savla who won first place in the Junior Group Documentary category with a project entitled, “The Tragedy of the M.S. St. Louis: A Failure in Diplomacy.” In the elementary age division, Snowville Elementary fourth-grader Roland Thompson, from Pulaski County, won second place in the Elementary Individual Exhibit category with his project entitled, “Will Liberty Get to Enlighten the World? Debate and Diplomacy Over Funding the Statue of Liberty.”

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