Virginia Museum of History & Culture announces National History Day contest winners in Virginia

virginia museum of history and cultureThe Virginia Museum of History & Culture announced Virginia’s results from the National History Day National Contest.

Over the month of June, 57 Virginia middle and high school students competed virtually against almost 3,000 students from across the country. Virginia’s students represented 23 schools from every region of the state.

Three Virginia students placed in the top 10 of their respective categories, with one student winning third place. In addition, two students received special topical awards presented by various state and national cultural institutions.

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.”

Virginia winners included:

  •  Placing 3rd in the Senior Individual Performance category was Sara Johnson, an 11th grader from Liberty High in Bedford, for her project entitled, “Shenandoah National Park: Debate and Diplomacy Leads to Displacement.” For her achievement, Sara received a $250 cash award.

Two Virginia students placed in the top ten of their respective categories:

  • 6th grader Sabina Hagen from Haycock Elementary in Fairfax placed 5th in the Junior Paper category for her project entitled, “The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965: Debate and Diplomacy Over the National Origins Quota.” In addition, Sabina won Virginia’s Junior Division Outstanding Affiliate Entry Award in recognition of her high-quality scholarship.
  • Placing 5th in the Junior Individual Website category was 8th grader Julienne Lim from Mary G. Porter Traditional in Woodbridge, for her project titled, “The President’s Own: Diplomacy One Note at a Time.” Julienne also won the White House Historical Association’s White House History special award, a $1,000 prize, for studying a topic related to presidential history.

In addition to the above students, several members of Virginia’s delegation received recognition by winning special awards:

  • 11th graders Tanishi Dasgupta, Niyathi Jag, and Teresa Seraphin, from Westfield High in Fairfax, who received Virginia’s Senior Division Outstanding Affiliate Entry Award for their exhibit entitled, “E Aihue Means to Steal,” which explores the history of America’s annexation of Hawaii. These students received this award by demonstrating high-quality scholarship.
  • Aiden Mathai, an 8th grader from Blacksburg New School in Blacksburg, received the George Washington Leadership in History Prize for his paper entitled, “Diplomatic Inception: How George Washington Used Jay’s and Pinckney’s Treaties to Preserve Peace and Prosperity in the United States during the Early Federal Period.” Aiden received a $1,000 prize from George Washington’s Mount Vernon for studying Washington’s role in the very first foreign treaties the United States agreed to.

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.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.