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County names National History Day winners

“Communication in History: The Key to Understanding” was the topic for students in this year’s National History Day San Diego competition, which recently announced its San Diego County winners.

Students explored the idea of communication in various ways, doing original research on topics from spies and comic books to the Pony Express and Hedy Lamarr. They used posters, videos, websites, performances, exhibits and essay papers to illustrate their projects. In developing their ideas, the students learn and improve critical thinking, research and reading skills, and problem-solving and teamwork.

National History Day is an education nonprofit based in College Park, Md. The competitions draw more than a half-million middle and high school students each year from across the nation. Top entries go on to state/affiliate level contests, and winners are then invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park, to be held in June.

This year’s top winners will participate in a virtual state competition in May. They are:

Elementary Group Poster: Francis Parker School, Amani Solorio, Elsa Szeles: “Stan Lee: POWerful Communication Through Comics”; Zora Aldous, Ava Cherry, Sreya Duvuuru: “Morse Code”; Amelia Antczak, Annika Rynning: “John Muir: The Father of Our National Parks”; Solana Ranch Elementary, Abhiram Sanaka, Sanmayu Nandipati, Naetra Karthik: “The Gutenberg Press: New Technology Makes Printed Communication Cheaper and More Popular”

Elementary Individual Poster: Solana Ranch Elementary, Shravya Mandadi: “Morse Code: Advancements in Communication Technology Leads to Wartime Advantages”; Francis Parker School, Chloe Rademaker: “The Unbreakable Code”; Miles Fink: “History of Baseball Broadcasting”; Luke Blair: “The Pony Express: Connecting the Country”

Junior Group Documentary: Black Mountain Middle School, Griffin Samuel, Anay Kulkarni, Maanit Mehta: “The Navajo Code Talkers: Secrecy in Communication”; The Children’s School La Jolla, Ava Brocious, Olivia Poch: “The Demagogue’s Playbook: The Power of Propaganda in Nazi Germany,” and Mia Sandoval, Olivia Middleton, “Letters of Secrecy: How Concentration Camp Prisoners in WW2 Communicated With the Outside World”; Francis Parker School, Nicholas Kim, Mitchell Janes: “Communication Through History: The Influence of Media on the Vietnam War and Gulf War”

Junior Group Exhibit: Los Coches Creek Middle School, Eleanor Werland, Katherine Morrison, Sofia Mendoza-Downey: “Julia Child: Communication Through Cuisine”; Correia Middle School, Marina Jacoway, Zoe Storm, Amelie Jacobs: “The Birth of Balboa Park”

Junior Group Performance: Solana Ranch Elementary, Yasmin Dowlat, Catherine Hassanein: “Communication Through Modern Dance: The Unknown Accomplishment in History”

Junior Group Website: Francis Parker School, Mark Blair, Eric Lillie: “Espionage in New York: A Tale of The Culper Spy Ring”; Elite Academic Academy, Madelynn Carpiuc, Melody Farahani: “Through the Lens of a Camera: Capturing the Lives of the Great Depression”; The Rhoades School, Sawyer Benedict, Divya Sharma, Jadyn Hecht, Chayce Marshall, Elias Samady: “Correspondence: The Key to Understanding the Complexities of the French and Indian War,” and Rohan Keswani, Tejas Ravi: “How Leaders’ Adversarial Speeches Shaped the Division of the Indian Subcontinent in the 1940s”

Junior Historical Paper: Chiu Home School, Christiana Sung: “Strategic Miscommunication: How One Spy Changed the Course of World War II”; Francis Parker School, Ayan Champsi: “Hammurabi’s Code: Communication in Ancient Mesopotamian History”; The Children’s School La Jolla, Thea Hillyard: “Kandinsky: Transforming Art and Lives,” and Max Buitron: “Why the Navajo Language Was Never Broken in the WW2"

Junior Individual Documentary: Pacific Trails Middle School, Sydney Mafong: “Blowing Smoke: Understanding the Deceptive Communications of Tobacco Companies”; The Rhoades School, Audrey Link: “Racism in the Cinema: Understanding the Impact of Racist Stereotypes Depicted in Films”; Black Mountain Middle School, Ellie Kim: “Graffiti and Paintings: The Communication of Keith Haring”; Francis Parker School, Thao Yun: “Mahatma Gandhi: Communicating Peace Through Independence”

Junior Individual Exhibit: Oak Grove Middle School, John Carr: “Lincoln Memorial, the Temple of Communication for American Equality”; Excel Academy Charter School, Ellie Byun: “Electroencephalogram: The Start of Understanding the Most Complex Form of Communication”; The Children’s School La Jolla, Kai Moore: “The Estonian Singing Revolution: Preserving Culture and Identity,” and Danielle Breise: “Cracking the Enigma Machine: Finding the Key Needed to Understand”

Junior Individual Performance: The Children’s School La Jolla, Maeve McEvoy: “The Flight of Heroes”

Junior Individual Website: Thurgood Marshall Middle School, Bridge Han: “Anguish to Action: How African-American Spirituals and Their Adaptations Were Used by the Enslaved to Communicate Emotion, Protest Their Enslavement, and Convey Messages in Secret”; The Rhoades School, Jonah Berman: “World War II Propaganda Posters: The Key to Understanding Our Complicated Past,” and Taylor Belanich: “How Presidential Communication Ameliorated an Anxious Nation in the Aftermath of 9/11"; The Children’s School La Jolla, Stella McGuinness: “Negotiating With a Messiah: The Waco Siege of 1993"

Senior Group Documentary: Canyon Crest Academy, Aron Einbinder, Samantha Yokoyama, Andrew Tsai: “A Window Into Internment: Communication of the Japanese Community Evolved on the Road to Redress”; Francis Parker School, Ollie Pai, Liam Brownlie: “The Pulpit of the Streets,” and Luca Bonanno, Ian Lillie: “Divided Highways: A Message To Unify The Nation”; Westview/Mt. Carmel High, Eleanor Jung, Aiken Wang, Maya Hsu, JJ Siu, Daniel Tran: “Written With Blood: How State-Owned Journalism Incited the Tiananmen Square Massacre”

Senior Group Exhibit: Francis Parker School, Shea McGrath, Keigo Omura, Nicholas Smith, Sophie White: “Estonian Revolution: Communicating to Create a Peaceful Revolution”

Senior Group Performance: Francis Parker School, Elsa Baumgartner, Adelyn Phillips: “Operating on the Front Lines: The Hello Girls of World War I”; Canyon Crest Academy, Lily Chen, Keala Minna-Choe, Sneha Varma, Mehar Thaper: “Roanoke: History’s Eerie Mystery”

Senior Group Website: Francis Parker School, Annika Baumgartner, Melina Fernon, Dessa Kuritz, Joey Richardson: “The Fireside Chats: Compelling Collaboration Between People and Politicians,” Jenna Kim, Sami Kim, Eden Smith: “C Is for Cookies and Communication: How Sesame Street Helped Us Understand More Than Just ABC’s,” and Hannah Luna, Alisha Wadhwa: “Hedy Lamarr: A Dazzling Actress With a Brilliant Mind”

Senior Historical Paper: Academy of Our Lady of Peace, Lila Fowler: “Samizdat: Forbidden Communication as the Key to Understanding Life in the USSR”; Canyon Crest Academy, Joanne Lee: “Communicating the Crime of Slavery: Uncle Tom’s Cabin”; Francis Parker School, Aadam Awad: “Class, Power, and Politics, Dr. Martin Luther King v Malcolm X: Communicating the Path to Black Equality”; Foundations Academy, Kaela Liu: “A Black Man’s War: How the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment Communicated the Goal of the Union”

Senior Individual Documentary: Mt. Carmel High School, Daniel Kim: “Ivy Lee: The Man Who Reinvented Rockefeller”; Francis Parker School, Jefferson (Jesse) Smith: “Sting Like a Bee: Muhammad Ali and His Fighting Words”

Senior Individual Exhibit: Canyon Crest Academy, Oliver Charat-Collins: “The United States Postal Service — A History of Communication Through Expansion and Unification”; Francis Parker School, Jack Ducote: “The Zimmermann Telegram: How One Message Changed History”

Senior Individual Performance: Francis Parker School, Sanjana Kumar: “Dr Seuss’ Impact on Communication With Children: Unlocking the Pathway to Nationwide Literacy”

Senior Individual Website: Francis Parker School, Aryo Kharrati: “Charles Coughlin: The Radio Priest of the Great Depression,” and Ethan Kassar: “History’s Great Communicators: How FDR, Hitler, and Churchill Inspired Their Audiences”; Westview High, Nirja Trivedi: “Kennedy and Khrushchev: Keys to the Cuban Missile Crisis”

For a full list of county winners, runners-up and honorable mentions, as well as a list of special awards winners, visit https://sites.google.com/view/nhdsd/home. For information on San Diego County’s National History Day projects, including special awards and sponsorships, email nhdsd.org@gmail.com.

— Laura Groch is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune


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