Freshmen Showcase NHD Projects


Grace Yan

(From left) Theatre Teacher Mary Kildare talks to freshman Amalia Holguin and a fellow freshman on National History Day.

Yasmin Dennis, Copy Editor

The freshman class recently gathered in the Peter V. Ueberroth Gymnasium to present their National History Day projects to their peers and parents. Having worked on these projects for several months in their Patterns of Civilization class, they stood by their tables with pride, some dressing in costumes related to their website, documentary video, exhibit, or paper.

The theme for this year’s National History Day was “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas,” and accordingly, students investigated research topics that sparked their interest, exploring historical figures and events that changed the course of history.

 “I enjoyed researching a topic that I would like to pursue as a career in the future,” freshman Andrew Lopez said. “I also enjoyed researching World War II, as I’ve always been interested in it. This is not a well-known topic, as I researched how radars impacted the course of the war and aircraft. I’ve never made a website before, but I was able to format it by looking at broad to very specific aspects of the radar in the war, like the Battle of Midway and the Battle of Britain.”

As a jazz lover, Freshman Soraya Dennis wanted to look at her favorite artists and the impact that they had on society during the Civil Rights Movement. “The project was a great experience because I learned more about researching in addition to how important music has been throughout history,” Soraya said.

Beyond the on-campus event, 11 students with nine projects competed at National History Day-Orange County, a competition for high school students in Orange County at the Orange County Department of Education campus in Costa Mesa. Participants in this competition included Megan Vahdat with an individual podcast, Jayla Chan with a group website, Aarav Putrevu with a group website, Kevin Hu with a group exhibit, Grace Yang with a group exhibit, Christine Li with an individual exhibit, Alia Sajjadian with an individual documentary, Arya Rawal with an individual documentary, Phoebe Pan with an individual paper, Ben Haworth with an individual paper, and Katherine Liao with an individual website. Megan, Jayla, Aarav, Kevin, and Grace will move on to the statewide competition in Sacramento from Friday to Sunday.

In addition, Megan was the only recipient of the NHD-OC Spotlight Award, an award given to seniors who demonstrate excellence both academically and socially, recognized for being a hard-working and compassionate leader in their community. With this award, Megan received a $500 dollar check, sponsored by the OCC GATE. In addition to this award, Megan also received the Bessie Reed McDonald Award for Women’s History for her project “Starved for Change: Hunger Strikers Communicate the Need for Women’s Suffrage in Edwardian England” by the NHD California State Competition in 2021. This year’s win marks Megan’s fifth championship in the NHD competition.

“NHD has been an incredible experience for me,” Megan said. “I have enjoyed exploring topics that are often only mentioned in the footnotes of my textbooks and have met absolutely amazing students from many other schools. I have also gained a much deeper appreciation for those who have sacrificed so much to bring about political change. Receiving the Spotlight Award is bittersweet for me because it marks the end of my participation in a program that has fundamentally shaped me as a student.”