By Staff Writers Julia Park & Shray Vaidya
Nine individuals and teams from MSJ History Club competed in the National History Day (NHD) State Competition held from May 5 to 6 at the William Jessup University in Rocklin. Sophomore Kanchan Raju won the title of state champion in the individual exhibit category for the second year in a row, and Senior Julia Park received an honorable mention in the individual website category.
NHD is a project-based history research competition with several categories such as paper, website, documentary, exhibit, and performance. Except for the paper category, which must be done individually, these categories are further divided into an individual category and a team category for a total of nine possible categories in the senior division, which is for high school students.
In the beginning of the school year, participants choose any historical topic they wish and construct a thesis related to the annual theme. This year, the theme was “Conflict and Compromise.” They then complete an entry that supports their thesis as well as a process paper to describe how they created their project and an annotated bibliography.
During competitions, competitors are interviewed by a panel of three judges for 15 minutes. On March 17, nine MSJ entries competed in the Alameda County History Day competition at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland.
In order to advance to the state competition, the entry must place in the top three in their corresponding category. All of the entries from MSJ qualified from the county level to the state competition. With the feedback of the district judges, they were able to improve their projects.
NHD State recognizes the top 9 to 15 entries in each category as finalists. Of the nine projects from MSJ, six of them proceeded to the finalist stage in the categories of paper, website, documentary, and exhibit. However, only the top two entries in each category advanced to the national competition at the University of Maryland, College Park.
This year, Raju will be the only student representing MSJ at the national level, where she won third place last year. Her exhibit focused on the IVF revolution, a medical procedure where fertilization occurs outside of the body.
Speaking on her hopes and goals for Nationals, Raju said, “Last year I was able to see firsthand just how stunning the exhibits at Nationals are, so I’m not necessarily aiming for a prize. I’m just thrilled to see the innovative topics and designs my fellow competitors have come up with.”
Photos by Staff Writer Julia Park