The Hernando County School Board, at its October 10th meeting, honored two remarkable students who have excelled in their study of history. Both students made their mark in the State Historical Day competition held last June, with one of them achieving recognition at the national level.
Damien Clark, an educator at Weeki Wachee High School and co-coordinator for the district’s History Fair, shed light on the origins of the competition, National History Day, which had its inception in Ohio during the 1970s. What began as a regional event has now blossomed into an international competition, with participation from schools across all 50 states as well as overseas territories and minor Asian countries, including Japan, Guam, and American Samoa. Globally, thousands of students eagerly participate in this academic endeavor.
National History Day has an annual theme that guides the participants’ projects. Students are free to select any historical event, provided it aligns with the theme of the year. The array of project types includes research papers, exhibits, and documentaries. Locally, middle and high schools organize their own competitions, with the top performers progressing to the district level. District winners, in turn, advance to the Florida state competition, conducted in Tallahassee, and the ultimate prize is an opportunity to participate in the national competition in Washington, D.C.
Hernando County Senior Allan An secured the spotlight by clinching first place in the district, followed by a first-place victory at the state level. His outstanding achievement was recognized with a Special Recognition Award for the State of Florida at the national competition in Washington, D.C., last June. An’s award-winning eight-minute documentary, “A Frontier Within the American West: Cultural Compromise in San Francisco’s Chinatown,” delves into the history of “Chinatowns” across the United States and their pivotal role in introducing Chinese culture to the Western mindset. Showcasing his work, the school board and the audience were treated to a screening of the documentary during the meeting.
Senior Christian Agudelo was recognized for clinching the Outstanding County Award at the State Competition. His research paper, titled “The 7th Continent and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration,” was adjudged the best from Hernando County.
Hernando County School District Director of Secondary Programs, John Morris, said a total of 50 students received awards at various local levels across different categories. Morris also expressed his admiration for the students’ dedication, stating, “It’s a lot of fun when you see these kids so passionate about their projects. They’ve put a lot of work into them. It’s one of those things you don’t see on a test in the classroom. It’s something they literally do for fun, and they’re passionate about it.”
The students have already begun their preparations for the 2023-2024 school year. The theme for the upcoming year, “Turning Points in History,” coincides with the National History Fair’s 50th anniversary, promising another year of enthusiastic historical exploration and academic excellence.