Local Students Advance to National History Day Competition

Ten student projects were honored at National History Day-California in May, with five projects advancing to national level for virtual competition set for June 14-20.

RIVERSIDE – Well-known barrier breakers like Jackie Robinson and Ryan White, along with lesser-known history makers like Florence Lawrence and New York Fire Department Captain Brenda Berkman, were the subjects of award-winning National History Day projects from students in Riverside County schools.

At the state competition in May, 16 student projects from Riverside County were recognized—including 10 champions and eight special award winners. Five of the projects will compete with winners from every state at the National History Day Competition that will take place virtually from June 14-20.

Two of the award-winning projects from Riverside County that will compete at the national level are in the Junior Individual Documentary category. Zachary Brasher’s documentary included a family trip to New York to interview Brenda Berkman who was instrumental in paving the way for women to become firefighters. Before the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Ellie Sosa’s documentary details how Ryan White changed views around the world about another virus, the AIDS epidemic.

*** Denotes students advancing to National History Day Virtual Competition, June 14-20

National History Day-California Winners From Riverside County

Breaking Barriers in Education
CHAMPION – Individual Poster, Elementary Division
Ellie Perez
Temescal Valley Elementary School
Corona-Norco USD

From Inside the Box: Breaking the Color Barrier
CHAMPION – Individual Poster, Elementary Division
Vincent Tang
Temescal Valley Elementary School
Corona-Norco USD

Jackie Robinson – Breaking the Color Barrier
Runner-Up – Individual Poster, Elementary Division
Joseph Flores
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School
Riverside USD

Joseph Lister: Changing Butchers into Healers
CHAMPION – Group Poster, Elementary Division
Sisanee McFadden, Aniket Bag, and McKenzie Patton
Victoriano Elementary School
Val Verde USD

Apollo 11: Breaking the Space and Technology Barriers
Runner-Up – Group Poster, Elementary Division
Rhett Lopez, Evan Dang, Nicholas Lim, Evan Tong
Garretson Elementary School
Corona-Norco USD

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: Women Breaking Gender Barriers in Professional Baseball
Runner-Up – Group Poster, Elementary Division
Isaac Goodman, Colton Christianson, Hudson Smith
Tomas Rivera Elementary School
Riverside USD

Sisters in the Brotherhood: Burning Barriers in Firefighting 
CHAMPION – Individual Documentary, Junior Division***
Zachary Brasher
Dr. Augustine Ramirez Intermediate School
Corona-Norco USD

Ryan White: Breaking the Silence of AIDS While Tearing Down Barriers of Discrimination for its Victims 
CHAMPION – Individual Documentary, Junior Division***
Ellie Sosa
Amelia Earhart Middle School
Riverside USD

Freedom 7: Breaking The American Space Barrier
Runner-Up – Group Documentary, Junior Division
Shayna Ashley, Shawn Ashley, Jonathan Serrano, Vincent Ruiz
Palm Middle School
Moreno Valley USD

Nixon’s Trip to China: Breaking a Diplomatic Barrier
CHAMPION – Individual Documentary, Senior Division***
Allison Bushong
Martin Luther King High School
Riverside USD

Charles Darwin: Breaking the Religious Dogma of the 19th Century
Runner-Up – Group Exhibit, Junior Division
Cao-Son Dang, Ben Holguin, and Haadie Syed
Vista Verde Middle School
Val Verde USD

Samuel Slater: The Father of the American Industrial Revolution
Honorable Mention – Individual Exhibit, Senior Division
Nicolas Almeida
Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Corona-Norco USD

Florence Lawrence: Breaking Barriers for Women’s Rights
Honorable Mention – Individual Performance, Junior Division
Paloma Vargas
Vista Heights Middle School
Moreno Valley USD

Eunice Kennedy and the Special Olympics: Breaking Barriers by Including the Excluded
CHAMPION – Group Performance, Junior Division***
Peyton English, Rossana Chavez, Ava Rodriguez, and Ruby Montes De Oca
Vista Heights Middle School
Moreno Valley USD

Breaking Down the Barrier of Child Marriage with the Sarda Act of 1929
Honorable Mention – Group Performance, Junior Division
Lara Randhawa, Amelia Lieu, Clara Nguyen, and Betsy Ramirez
Garretson Elementary School
Corona-Norco USD

Tinker v. Des Moines: Breaking Barriers for Students’ First Amendment Rights
CHAMPION – Group Performance, Senior Division***
Danielle Cabrera
King High School
Avery Hansberger and Katie Savage

John W. North High School
Riverside USD

Special Awards

Friends of NHD Bessie Reed McDonald Award
Zachary Brasher – Dr. Augustine Ramirez Intermediate School, Corona-Norco USD

Monterey Lyceum Environmental History Award
Dimple Garuadapuri – Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Corona-Norco USD

Monterey Lyceum Individual In History Award
Mitchell Babcock – Poly High School, Riverside USD

LGBTQ Historical Society LGBTQ Rights Award
Ellie Sosa – Amelia Earhart Middle School, Riverside USD

San Francisco Naval Commandry’s Naval Order of the U.S. San Francisco Commandery Award for Outstanding National History Day Project in Maritime of Naval History
Ella Parsons – Vista Heights Middle School, Moreno Valley USD

Mike and Melissa Lawson Dr. Larry W. Sheffield Young Historian’s Award
Elianna Perez – Temescal Valley Elementary School, Corona-Norco USD
Paloma Vargas – Vista Heights Middle School, Moreno Valley USD

Monterey Lyceum’s Turning Point in History
Allison Bushong – Martin Luther King High School, Riverside USD

About National History Day

More than 600,000 students nationwide participate in the year-long National History Day program. In California, more than 40,000 students participate in National History Day each year. This year, 1,698 students from 294 schools representing 29 counties participated in the California state contest. More than 240 historians, educators, and other professionals evaluated their work online.

National History Day students engage in project-based learning as they choose their own topics of study connected to an annual theme and then engage in public history at competitions. This year’s theme is Breaking Barriers in History. National History Day students research historic documents and artifacts, conduct oral histories, search the internet and libraries for information on their topic, and travel to historic sites. They presented their work virtually this year in a variety of ways including: museum-type exhibits, documentaries, websites, original performances, posters, or traditional research papers.