Freshmen qualify for state National History Day competition

Eight Country Day freshmen will be heading to the April 14-16 state National History Day competition after winning first place awards for their projects during the  Sacramento County tournament in March.  

Winners included:

  • Rehan Afzal and Gavin Wang won the Senior Group Documentary
  • Ava Levermore and Ashley Omalu won the Senior Individual Documentary
  • Zema Nasirov and Grace Mahan won the Senior Individual Exhibit
  • Rebecca Lin and Maddie Inman won the Senior Individual Website.

Special recognition award winners were also given, with applications required: 

  • Ava Levermore received the Black History Award
  • Ashly Omalu received the East Lawn Memorial Park Award and SSVMS Medical History Award 
  • Rebecca Lin received the Medical History Award.

Freshman World History teacher Christopher Arns said that NHD is an international competition in which students of all ages compete by submitting a research project where everybody has a common theme.

This year’s theme was “Frontiers in History: People, Places, and Ideas,” and over 200 students participated in the county tournament. Freshmen students could enter performance, exhibit, documentary, podcast or website projects as individuals or in a group of up to three people. 

“I think that the theme is about breaking boundaries and barriers,” Arns said.

Arns and librarian Jo Melinson led the way through six months of data gathering and source collecting. 

“It definitely is a pretty significant part of the curriculum. We started back in October, and we made trips to the library, and they began researching and gathering sources,” Arns said.

While all freshmen created research projects for world history’s first semester final, students could choose whether they wanted to submit their work for the competition.

Freshman Nasirov’s project, “The Minds Behind the Blue Baby Operation,” was selected as a champion in the Senior Individual Exhibit category.

“I wanted to define some medical frontier so I already had the idea in mind and since my dad does work in cardiology, I thought that would be a good goal to push towards because I’m also interested in it,” Nasirov said.

There were three doctors who created a shunt, and two of them were minorities: one was a deaf and dyslexic woman, and the other one was an African American male. The shunt is what the doctors created to do the operation on blue babies.

“They didn’t really receive credit for their work. That kind of pushed me to create that because it was a frontier and they broke boundaries in the field of medicine, like creating the shunt,” Nasirov said.

Nasirov created an exhibit that included pictures of the syndrome’s effects.

“First, I researched a lot, and then I organized the information into different categories with both quotations from articles and my own words within the word limit, which was 500,” Nasirov said.

Nasirov also bought a tri-fold from Walmart and pasted several images of the doctors and models of the hearts with tetralogy of fallot onto it.

Nasirov said the key to succeeding in the project is to pick a topic you’re interested in.

“I think the key is to find the topic that you’re actually interested in or that you actually enjoy. I enjoyed the story behind how they created the shunts and everything,” Nasirov said.

The eight Sacramento Country Day Cavaliers are heading to the state competition at California State University, Sacramento.

— By Irene Jung

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