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Los Alamos High School’s Sydne Ashford And Miriam Wallstrom Shine At National History Day Competition

on June 19, 2017 - 9:54am

Los Alamos High School students Sydne Ashford and Miriam Wallstrom win 5th place in the U.S. in National History Day Contest. Courtesy photos


In a town where science fair is all the rage, a similar, unique competition showcasing history is just as exciting for local students. Los Alamos High School students Sydne Ashford and Miriam Wallstrom competed in the National History Day Contest (NHD), held June 11-15 at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Washington D.C. area. Their Senior Division Group Website took home fifth place after the girls competed against around 100 other websites.

Ashford and Wallstrom also received an “Outstanding Entry” award, meaning their project was the highest-ranking senior division project in all of New Mexico. This was Wallstrom’s fourth time at the National competition and Ashford’s second time.

The 2017 theme for the contest was “Taking a Stand in History.” Ashford and Wallstrom joined more than half a million students globally who completed projects in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. The girls created a website project on the Berlin Airlift.

“Before our project, both of us had barely heard about the Berlin Airlift. After interviewing Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of President Truman, and researching for months, we both have an in-depth understanding of the event and its surrounding context,” Wallstrom said.

Ashford agreed, saying, “Not only did we learn about the historical event, but we also honed our research skills, improved our confidence, and built a sense of teamwork.”

“The work students put into these projects is astounding,” NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn said. “To make it to the National Contest is a remarkable achievement. Less than 1 percent of all projects make it to this level. It requires a superb level of research and critical thinking skills. I am confident we will continue to see great things from all of these students because the skills learned through competing in NHD help prepare students for success in college and career.”

National History Day is non-profit education organization in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world (all 50 States in addition to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, China, Korea, and South America) annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the Regional and State levels, where the top student projects at State have the opportunity to advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park.

As leadership of the high school NHD Club, Wallstrom and Ashford will seek to increase membership in the club, both at middle school and high school levels. They are excited to compete next year!