Twenty-Two Students Win at National History Day State Competition
On Saturday, April 22, 2023, twenty-two Birchwood students traveled to Ohio Wesleyan University for the state level of the National History Day competition. With over 400 students from 40 different schools, the competition was challenging but the results were outstanding, with 15 Birchwood of Hawken students qualifying for the national level of the competition which will be held the week of June 11, 2023 at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. With national qualifiers in almost every category, the students’ hard work to improve their projects following the regional competition resulted in strong finishes. The first and second place finishers in each category advance to the national competition.
In the Historical Paper category, 8th grader Haadeya placed 2nd. She also received the National Maritime Historical Award for her paper focused on the Erie Canal. In the Individual Documentary category, Birchwood students captured both national qualifying spots. Placing first was 8th grader Joshua G. with his project on the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and how it tamed the lawless frontier of food and drug production. Seventh grader Joshua T. placed second. His topic was Dr. John Snow, who started the field of epidemiology with his investigation of a cholera outbreak in London, England in the mid-1800s. In the Group Documentary category, 7th graders Arav and Suryan placed second with their project on Enrico Fermi, who created the first nuclear reactor. Receiving an honorable mention were 6th graders Andrew and Brian for their documentary on America’s use of deception to fool the German military in WWII.
In the Individual Website category, 8th grader Jonathan placed first with his website on Sputnik. In the Group Documentary category, 7th graders Leen, Rhea and Ayah placed first. Their website focused on Lewis Hine, whose photographs of working children became a key factor in ending child labor. They also received the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board Award for their exceptional use of primary sources. Placing third in this category were 7th graders Saanvi and Maliha for their website on the Blackwell sisters, who opened the medical frontier for women in the 1800s.
The performance categories also had multiple qualifiers. In the Individual Performance category, 8th grader Caroline placed first with her performance that tells the story of Lise Meitner, who never received appropriate recognition for her contribution to the discovery of nuclear fission. Placing third in this category was 8th grader Sabrina for her performance focused on Marie Curie, who opened the frontier of radioactivity. In the group performance category, 8th graders Manya, Yara, and Ishika placed first. Their performance told the story of the beginning of the Cleveland Clinic and the founders’ vision of how this new medical facility would serve the people of Cleveland.
In the Group Exhibit category, 6th graders Zora and Kritika placed first with their exhibit on the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case which struck down segregated schools. They also received the African- American History Award for their outstanding project on the historical contributions of African-Americans. In the Individual Exhibit category, 6th grader Sofia received the Society of Ohio Archivists Award for her substantial use of the Kent State archives, which holds the papers of Dorothy Fuldheim.
One more interesting note - Twelve Birchwood alumni participated in the competition in the Senior Division. Six students qualified for the National competition. Omar Elbadawy took first place in the Historical Paper category. His topic was the Northwest Ordinance. A group of four girls worked together on a Group Documentary about Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel. The team is comprised of Brook Gemechu, Aanya Lakireddy, Siya Lakireddy and Areesha Nouman and they earned second place. In the individual Documentary category, Qiwen Wu earned second place for her project on female pioneers of the STEM field.
Congratulations and good luck to everyone competing at the national competition in June!