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Students Make a Strong Presence at California State History Day Competition

Several students from throughout the district made an impressive showing at the California State History Day Competition in Riverside, CA from April 27th to the 28th. Wendy Wang, a student at Folsom Middle School came within the top nine entries (out of thirty) for her historical paper titled “The Cultural Revolution in China: Annihilating Culture through Political and Class Struggle”. She was also a runner-up for the final round and came remarkably close to making it into the top three.

While no students from district schools were able to make it into the top three during the competition, the State History Day Director, Deborah Granger, noted while announcing the finalists that the odds of someone “getting into Stanford” were better than advancing to the nationals from this competition.  
Still, students from district schools did earn a few special awards including: Outstanding Use of Academic English by English Language Learner which was awarded to Phuong Mai of Cordova High; and Webmaster Award for a Group Project won by Shyamal Buch and Paul Kasrazadeh of Vista del Lago High School.  
Shyamal and Paul’s project also beat twenty other website projects to make it to the final round of judging and were among the “Elite Eight” finalists, coming the closest to nationals out of every competitor from the Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

The full list of competitors included students from Cordova High School, Folsom High School, Vista del Lago High School, Sutter Middle School, Mitchell Middle School Folsom Middle School, and Russell Ranch Elementary. Presentations outlined a variety of historical events that ranged from the fashion revolution of the 1920s to the Silicon Valley. Competitors were given the freedom to use a variety of mediums for their project from a poster board display to multimedia presentations such as videos. 

The California State History Day Competition is a part of an even larger national competition and is incredibly competitive. More than half a million students from across the country compete each year. Although the competition is called National History “Day”, it is a year-long process for most competitors. Students begin their projects months in advance and pour a tremendous amount of effort just for the hope of making it to the state qualifying round. 

These students who attended the California State History Day Competition were there because they made it through a competitive Sacramento County History Day Competition months before, which was an impressive accomplishment in itself. The journey to the state finals has been a long and rewarding experience for these students.

“I have been working on the project since September. This experience has taught me better communication skills, perseverance, and dedication,” said Megan Phelps of Vista del Lago High School. Her project, which she completed with fellow Vista student Kitara Crain, was titled “The Traitorous 8: The Spark that Lit the Silicon Valley” and outlined the history of the Fairchild 8. 

History Day is a wonderful opportunity for students to push themselves and to treat history in a more dynamic way. This competition transforms history from a dull memorizing of dates and facts to the deep analysis of the past that it is meant to be.

Full list of FCUSD competitors and projects:

Wendy Wang (Folsom Middle School): “The Cultural Revolution of China: Annihilating Culture through Political and Class Struggle”
Phuong Mai (Cordova High School): “The Women’s Fashion Revolution of the Roaring ‘20s”
Shyamal Buch and Paul Kasrazadeh (Vista del Lago High School): “The Treaty of Versailles: Revolution, Reaction, and Reform”
Milan Zhou and Danny Zang (Sutter Middle School): “Proposition 98”
Gahna Mujoo (Folsom Middle School): “The Germ Theory: A Medical Revolution”
Megan Phelps and Kitara Crain (Vista del Lago High School): “The Traitorous 8: The Spark that Lit the Silicon Valley”
Nishita Baria and Nisha Kyathsandra (Russell Ranch Elementary): “The Occupation of Alcatraz: Start of a New Movement”
Siva Kishore Polvali and Jacob Rheams (Russell Ranch Elementary): “Juvenile Justice in California”
Megan Campeau (Russell Ranch Elementary): “Trail of Tears”
Henry Ankhelyi (Folsom Middle School): “The Steam Engine and How it Revolutionized Modern Power”
Ramya Singamsetty and Saachi Sikaria (Folsom Middle School): “American Reaction to the ‘Reds’”
Shreya Sahoo (Folsom Middle School): “The 1979 Iranian Revolution: ‘And the Chain Reaction Continues’”
Amit Talreja and Timothy Rupasinghe (Folsom High School): “Dorothea Dix: Defending the Defenseless”
Jose de Jesus Rivas-Garcia, Heather Manzanares, Hoang Tran, Marc Smith, and Anastasia Kazak (Cordova High School): “The Nazi Revolution: The Facts about the People”
Shayla Maureine Nuttall (Mitchell Middle School): “Gutenberg’s Printing Press Revolution”
Christian Carrasco (Mitchell Middle School): “Ford Model T”
Matt Tran, Jacob Norman, and Jamie Davis (Cordova High School): “The Social Contract Theory: The Political Gullotine”
Marisa Estipona, Nivia Savio, Molly Marie Mort Mort (Folsom High School): “Battle for the Ballot”
Tyler Roush, Taylor Golden, Kaetyng Chen, Caitlyn Karver (Cordova High School):  
“The Theory that Redefined Health”

Steven Colson