Freshman first to get runner-up title; eighth grader second to move on to nationals in National History Day

(Photo used by permission of Anand)
Freshman Keshav Anand, the runner-up in the category “Individual Documentary: Senior,” at the state competition at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif.

Thirteen SCDS students attended the National History Day state competition at William Jessup University on May 5.

Of the 13, one (freshman Keshav Anand) placed third in the senior division and one eighth grader, Keerti Ravula, qualified for nationals.

Ravula will be attending the nationals competition, June 10-14 in Washington, D.C.

Along with them was history teacher Chris Kuipers. Kuipers said he is very happy with the results of this year’s competition. Kuipers won the Teacher of the Year award at the previous competition. He mentioned that his award was for both him and his students.

“More than anything, my recognition really is a testament to the strong work of the 85 Country Day students who have participated in the Sacramento County competition over the last four years,” he said “Over half of those students (43) ultimately advanced to the state competition.” Seven of the nine projects that competed made it to the Finalist level.

Anand was the only SCDS student in the senior division to place. He placed third in state, which is also first runner-up to nationals, for his documentary about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Every participant of NHD is interviewed about their project after they present. Judges then evaluate participants’ work and decide whether to move them up or disqualify them.

“My interview went great,” Anand said.

Eighth grader Keerti Ravula will be the second SCDS student ever to attend the national competition. Her project was a paper titled “Labor Unions and Reforms from the Ashes of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.”

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire occured on March 25, 1911, in New York City. It is known as one of the most infamous incidents in America. An eight-story building holding 600 people, mostly teenage girls, caught on fire. There were 145 deaths.

When Kuipers found out that Ravula made her way to nationals, he was not surprised.

“I think Keerti’s paper stands out for a few reasons,” Kuipers said. “First, it’s beautifully written; Keerti is a gifted writer. Second, her research is very strong. She found many great sources and did a superb job weaving her facts into a powerful narrative.

“Keshav’s documentary was a carefully researched and wonderfully crafted film, examining one of the most important treaties of recent history. He put a lot of time, energy, and effort into his project.”

After the county competition, participants are advised by both the judges and their project facilitator to make edits on their project.  Anand took the judges’ and Kuipers’s advice and fine-tuned his documentary and re-recorded parts where he felt the audio wasn’t suitable.

Ravula was also urged to make edits to her paper.,

“It was mainly grammatical errors, (and I had) a lot of extra words that I didn’t need,” Ravula said. “I cut down parts that weren’t (relevant) to my paper so I could squeeze into the word limit.”

—By Elise Sommerhaug

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