National History Day teams compete at State Competition


Photo Courtesy of Kevin Lu

Freshmen Henry Liu, Kevin Lu, and Sai Kuppili celebrate being one of very few selected to move in the finals round.

Benjamin Kim, Business Team

Julia Kim, Kevin Lu, Henry Liu, Sai Kullipi, Shreya Shah and Jenny Won qualified for finals in the State Competition for their National History Day projects on May 10-12. They traveled to Fresno that weekend after winning the county competition.

“The most interesting thing would definitely be meeting other contestants and just learning about different topics in history that all resembled and applied to this one theme” freshman Kevin Lu. “There were so many different projects and topics, and the entire experience of just immersing myself into other people’s perspectives and takes on different parts of history was definitely the most eye-opening.”

The entire experience of just immersing myself into other people’s perspectives and takes on different parts of history was definitely the most eye-opening.””

— Kevin Lu

Students who participated in NHD created historical papers, performances, documentaries, exhibits, posters or websites based around the year’s theme, “Triumph and Tragedy.”

“We looked for a topic that was less publicized and well known so we could shed light on a piece of history that people had most likely not known about beforehand. We ultimately found our topic, The Greco Turkish War of 1919, after hearing about it on a podcast,” Lu said.

Students began creating the projects in the beginning of the school year, and presented their finished project at the county competition, which occurred on March 14. Before creating the project, the students needed to work on finding relevant and important topics to cover; some of this year’s projects include the Greco Turkish War of 1919, the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991, WWII journalist Edward R Murrow, and fashion designer Coco Chanel.

“The hardest part [of the process was] probably taking all the research that we did and everything that we learned and presenting it in a very visually appealing way,” freshman Sai Kuppili said.

Last year, one student from Portola passed through finals and traveled to New York for nationals- while no students qualified for nationals, six students passed through finals at the state competition.

“My experience with NHD has brought much depth into my world. Through my research, I came to realize that even the smallest moment in history has thousands and thousands of words and events behind it,” Henry Liu said. “To the students that are participating in NHD next year, I would recommend that they start extremely early. Throughout the year, you will need to work that extra hour.  In our own project, we would often have to use up 2-3 hours every weekend and work through holidays.”