State Contest Sends Alaskan Youth on to National History Day Competition

The 2020 Alaska History Day competition just wrapped, sending winners on to compete with students from across the country at the annual National History Day® (NHD).

More than half a million middle and high school students participate each year in this national competition that emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving skills, research and reading skills, self-esteem and confidence through independent research and presentation projects.


While this will be the first year that the national competition will be virtual, Alaska has always held an online statewide competition as part of Alaska History Day (AHD). Students submit projects at the local / regional level and then move on to the statewide competition where their projects are scored online by volunteer judges from the community. The Alaska Humanities Forum serves as the state coordinator for AHD, led by Youth Program Manager Kari Lovett.


“Our theme this year is Breaking Barriers in History,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn, “and we recognized this as an opportunity to do something we’ve never done before. In the face of this devastating global crisis, we are using the tools available to us, specifically technology and our stalwart network of coordinators and volunteers, to support this year’s National Contest and make it happen for the students. Their perseverance and hard work will be seen and celebrated by teachers, parents, and most importantly, their peers across the country. We have to do all we can to provide a little bit of normalcy for these kids who have seen their usual school year all but vanish.” Hear Gorn explain the transition in this short facebook video.


The shift to an online competition will hopefully allow for more students from Alaska to participate this year as they won't have the travel and lodging expenses of making the trip to Maryland; NHD has also reduced the student fee from $150 to $75 to support families during this challenging financial time, and a limited number of scholarships are available to cover the fee for students who aren't able to pay.


This year's state competition included students from schools in Haines, Juneau, Anchorage, Delta Junction, Eielson Air Force Base, North Pole, and Fairbanks. Students submitted 70 projects across five categories (documentary, performance, exhibit, paper, website.) The winners were announced this week, earning the opportunity to compete at the national competition in June.


"Thanks so much for continuing this program," wrote one of the judges, Mikki Jemin.  "One of the biggest lessons we are all learning right now, is how to carry on in trying times.  The students will never forget this year, and neither will the rest of us."

Congratulations to this year's winners!


JUNIOR DIVISION (Grades 6-8)

Documentary Category

Individual

1st place: The Story of Title IX by Kiana Feldis, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

2nd place: Hans Christian Mamen by Sophia Owen, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau

3rd place: Stonewall Inn by Hilary Nguyen, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau


Group

1st place: Hedy Lamarr by Nicky Widdis, Vanessa Kim, Sebastien Miller, & Vaishnavi Gornale, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

2nd place: Tuskegee Airmen by Gema McGrew & Shayne Afolabi, Rogers Park Elementary in Anchorage 3rd place: How Sputnik 1 Changed Science Education by Finley Bold & Forrest Rodgers, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

3rd place: Katherine Johnson by Magdalene Eklund & Sarah Kim, Rogers Park Elementary School in Anchorage


Exhibit Category

Individual

1st place: Newsies Stop the World! by Sophia Sutcliffe Diaz, Haines Elementary School in Haines

2nd place: Talking to Victory by Alex Weerasinghe, Haines Elementary School in Haines

3rd place: The Math That Put Men On The Moon by Ian Ward, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau


Group

1st place: The Harlem Hellfighters by Jack Fineman, Jack Beltzer & Jason Cooper, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

2nd place: U.S. vs. O'Brien by Dane Lester, Alessandra Lucero & Jonathan Moore, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

3rd place: Dred Scott v. Sandford Case by Reonna Maloney, Isabelle Powers & Mackenzie Terry, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau


Paper Category

Individual

1st place: Creation of the WASP by Danika Dawley, North Pole Middle School, North Pole

2nd place: A Monumental Medicinal Breakthrough by Grayson Riddle, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau

3rd place: The 1991 Federal Glass Ceiling Commission by Elizabeth Djajalie, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau


Performance Category

Group

1st place: Code Girls by Rowan Miller, Kaeli Baranoski, Alayna Seeger & Mia Selvaggio, Whitestone Farms Training Center in Delta Junction

2nd place: Moonshot by Matthew Lawhorne, Michael Hasz, Caitlyn Greenleaf, Anna Greenleaf & Zoee Greenleaf, Whitestone Farms Training Center in Delta Junction


Website Category

Individual

1st place: Storming Redoubts 9 and 10​​​​​​​ by ​Sean Owen, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau

2nd place: Violence and Advancement by Ciara Tamondong, Romig Middle School in Anchorage 3rd place: The Stonewall Riots by Stella Woodward, Romig Middle School in Juneau


Group

1st place: Wright Brothers by Gavin Yi & Cole Flowers, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

2nd place: Jesse Owens by Ryan Maves & Elias Soule, Romig Middle School in Anchorage

3 place: The Mars Pathfinder by Jackson Hanna, Joshua Jaenicke & Jonathan Sleppy, Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau


SENIOR DIVISION (Grades 9-12)

Documentary Category

Individual

1st place: Little Rock Nine by Sydney Jolin, Dimond High in Anchorage

2nd place: Marilyn Monroe by Ellie Shillinger, West Valley High School in Fairbanks


Exhibit Category

Individual

1st place: Melissa Ludtke by Riley Kimmel, Dimond High School in Anchorage

2nd place: Jonas Salk’s Polio Vaccine by Joseph Jablonski, Dimond High School in Anchorage

2nd place: No Small Feat by AnaKarin Bronson, Hutchison High School in Fairbanks


Group

1st place: The Book of Braille by Natalie Clemente & Grace Hopkins, Hutchison High School in Fairbanks


Paper Category

Individual

1st place: Integration into the Community by Sarah Curns, Hutchison High School in Fairbanks

2nd place: The March on Washington by Joy Gipeum Kim, Dimond High School in Anchorage

3rd place: Breaking Through Death’s Door by Darshan Nautiyal, Ben Eielson High School, Eielson AFB


Website Category

Individual

1st place: Marie Sklodowska Curie by Grace Veenstra, West Valley High School in Fairbanks

2nd place: The Coder that Saved Millions of Lives by Michelle Ramirez, West Valley High School in Fairbanks

3rd place: Invention and Evolution of the Computer by Ernest Kvidera, Dimond High School in Anchorage


Group

1st place: Apollo 11 by Ekaterina Pniushkova & Makayla Barnes, West Valley High School in Fairbanks

2nd place: The Transcontinental Railroad by Alexander Ziegler, Andrew Teasley & Cole Hammel, Dimond High School in Anchorage










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