National History Day Winners
Senior Historical Paper: 1st Place — Roberto Virgen
Senior Documentary: Best in Show — Steven Halseth, Anthony Francis & Vincent Swift, Keith Gordon, Angel Ceja; 1st Place —Tahmirah Hamed, Gilberto Barba & Maritza Cortez; 2nd Place —LeBrea Hill & Heavin Olmos; 3rd Place— Cameron Tracey & Alex Gebbing
Senior Exhibits: Best in Show —Taylor Williams & Julian Sill; 1st Place — Grace Wilson, Cassandra Garcia & Alejandra Serrano; 2nd Place— Danielle Jenkins; 3rd Place — Sayah Magalena Guerrero
Senior Websites: Best in Show —Ethan Schut, Ernesto Huizar & Carlos Ortega; 1st Place — Jesus Martinez & Julio Perez; 2nd Place —Lanaeya Banks, Jessica Raley & Trisha Bailey; 3rd Place — Edward Atkinson & Benjamin Ramirez
Junior Documentary: Best in Show —Tyler Posey; 1st Place—Jonathan Trans & David Prado; 2nd Place —Danielle Ramirez; 3rd Place — Abigail Belville
Junior Exhibit: Best in Show —Rebecca Magana & Leilani Barredas; 1st Place —Nathan Bold & Ian Arizpe; 2nd Place —Angel Munoz & Salmon Obeid; 3rd Place —Alex Linarea
Junior Website: Best in Show—Xandra Carter; 1st Place—Ashley Jepson & Kayle Schuellar; 2nd Place— Lois Lopez; 3rd Place— Ian Do
Patterson students from sixth to 12th grade have been researching historical personalities and events that interest them for the past few months. They showed off the fruits of their labor on Saturday, March 15, at Patterson Joint Unified School District’s first National History Day.
More than 100 students who attend Patterson High School, Creekside Middle School and Walnut Grove School showed off their exhibits in the Creekside gymnasium throughout the morning and late afternoon.
In keeping with the theme “Rights and Responsibilities,” students also presented their documentaries, websites and white papers in individual classrooms — with presentations set for every 15 minutes. Over 30 judges comprised of community members, teachers, retired educators, school staff and members of the Patterson Township Historical Society spent the day reviewing the projects.
Before the opening ceremony, Kerry McWilliams, Creekside principal, said it was an exciting day.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” McWilliams said. “It’s neat to see how the students have exceeded our expectations and have taken it to the next level. It shows the ability of our students in Patterson Unified and what they can do.”
Months of research for National History Day paid off for Gustavo Chavez, a 12-year-old seventh-grader who put together an exhibit about Confucianism.
“It isn’t religion – it’s a teaching,” Gustavo said. “Confucius wanted everyone to have an optimistic view. That means you have to be respectful and have manners.”
Another thing that is important to Gustavo, the first-born son in his family, is the teaching that the eldest son and the father must be responsible for the family.
Students Charlie Cassidy and Mason Stonebarger, both 13-year-old eighth-graders, chose to illustrate the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson, who integrated into the major leagues in 1947, for their project.
“We wanted to do this project because we both have been playing baseball our whole lives,” Charlie said.
The two friends — who enjoy working together — went to the library and poured through books and also spent time on the computer to complete their assignment.
Judge Nick De Pauw said the most impressive part of the day for him was talking with the students.
“It surprised me how well the students researched their topic, and the information around it,” De Pauw said. “They read the history and developed their own thoughts and feelings about their topics, and then they defended their point of view when questioned. Having a discussion about the rights and responsibilities of a historical event with an informed junior high school student is an experience everyone should have. Their energy and passion for their topic was exciting and gave me a desire to do a little research myself.”
Tiffany Jones, who coordinated the day long event with other local teachers, told the gathering at the opening ceremony she hopes the event grows.
“Today is a celebration of all the hard work you have been doing all year,” Jones said.
Phil Alfano, superintendent of the PJUSD and former history teacher, said Patterson’s own History Day is the first event to ever be held in Stanislaus County. He explained that History Day programs provides the students choices of subject matter, as well as helps them organize their topic, provide a timeline, learn how to use resources and write fluently.
“It’s history that drives everything you do,” Alfano said.
Patterson History Day’s top winners will go to state competition in Riverside from April 25 to April 27.
Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org.