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Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2009

Wanda Richey

Florida History Fair Team Excels at National Competition

Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning is pleased to announce the Florida student winners of the National History Day (NHD) competition in College Park, Maryland. After months of intensive research and success at district and state level competitions, 55 students from 14 counties represented Florida at the national competition in June. These middle and high school students prepared historical paper, exhibit, documentary, performance, and web site entries relating to this year’s theme, The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies. Florida joined about 2,400 students from 49 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Department of Defense schools, and an international school in Shanghai, China, as affiliates of the NHD program.

“I am proud of the students who won at the state level and represented Florida at the National History Day competition,” said Secretary Browning.

Listed below are the Florida winners at the national level

  • 4th Place—Junior Individual Exhibit
    Jalen Benson, Message for Civil Rights: A. Philip Randolph, Escambia County
  • 7th Place—Senior Individual Exhibit
    Nathan Gupta, Governor LeRoy Collins: Moderation, Toleration, and the Preservation of Order during the Civil Rights Movement, Escambia County
  • 8th Place—Junior Individual Performance
    Mackenzie Yaryura, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, Manatee County
  • 11th Place—Junior Historical Paper
    Anna Yannakopoulos, Wernher von Braun: An Inspired Engineer or an Immoral Villain?, Hillsborough County
  • 12th Place—Senior Group Performance
    Amanda Patton and Brian Hagerott, Edward R. Murrow: The Fearless Journalist, Escambia County
  • 14th Place—Junior Group Documentary
    Dianelys Barrios and Tisha Saylor, An Ordinary Hero, Lee County
  • 14th Place—Senior Group Exhibit
    Jesse Adcock, Karissa Kleinschmidt, and Katelynn Scallan, Grace Murray Hopper: America’s “Amazing Grace,” Escambia County
  • George C. Marshall 20th Century History Award
    Anna Yannakopoulos, Junior Historical Paper—Wernher von Braun: An Inspired Engineer or an Immoral Villain, Hillsborough County
  • Naval History Award
    Jesse Adcock, Karissa Kleinschmidt, and Katelynn Scallan, Senior Group Exhibit— Grace Murray Hopper: America’s “Amazing Grace,” Escambia County
  • Outstanding State Award—Junior Division
    Megan Lee and Amy Sullivan, Junior Group Exhibit—Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine, Clay County
  • Outstanding State Award—Senior Division
    Robert Lockard and Carmen Moore, Senior Web site—Waging Peace: The Legacy of General George C. Marshall, Polk County
  • In addition to the student winners, Florida’s nominee for the PBS Teacher of Merit Award was a finalist for NHD’s teacher-of-the-year recognition. Ron Heller, who teaches 9th-grade Western Civilization in Pinellas County, received a PBS video library for his school.

    National History Day is a year-long educational program that encourages students in grades 6–12 to learn research, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills through the process of historical discovery. The Florida students who advanced to the NHD contest were winners at the Florida History Fair in May. The Florida History Fair is one of the statewide services sponsored by the Museum of Florida History, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State. A list of state and national winners and FHF sponsors can be viewed at the Florida History Fair Web site at