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seal of florida

Florida Department of State
Ken Detzner
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
May 11, 2016

Meredith Beatrice

Secretary Detzner Announces Winners of the 2016 Florida History Fair

The Museum of Florida History is pleased to announce the winners of the annual Florida History Fair (FHF) contest held in Tallahassee May 1–3. More than 50,000 students from around Florida participated in Florida History Fair this year and the top entries from each county competed at the state contest. At the event, outstanding history teachers from across the state were also recognized and presented with awards.

“The students and teachers who participated in this year’s Florida History Fair are a shining example of the talent and creativity in Florida schools,” said Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “I’d like to recognize all of the students who devoted hours to researching their topics and perfecting their presentations, including the award winners who will represent Florida at the National History Day contest in Washington, D.C. I’d also like to recognize the teachers honored with awards this year whose dedication inspires students to cultivate their interest in history.”

Photo: Students gather at the annual Florida History Fair.

PHOTO: Students gather at the annual Florida History Fair. Additional pictures from the event can be found on the Florida History Fair’s Facebook page here.

More than 1,120 middle and high school students presented award-winning research in a variety of mediums including, documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances and websites. The top two placements of each category are invited to represent Florida at the National History Day (NHD) contest in College Park, Maryland, June 12–16.

Listed below are the teachers and students who received awards. Statewide student winners are listed by county. A listing of statewide winners by award category is available on the Florida History Fair website here.


Grace Freeman, Gulf Breeze Middle School (Brevard)

Florida History Fair annually honors an educator with the Teacher of Merit Award for creative history teaching within and outside the classroom. To be eligible, a teacher must have at least three years of experience as an FHF participant. The $250 prize is sponsored by Flagler College Tallahassee, which is based at Tallahassee Community College.

Mrs. Freeman teaches US history and gifted classes for sixth to eighth grades and has involved her students in National History Day for ten years. She finds satisfaction in her work by seeing the impact that NHD has had on her students.

Mayflower Outstanding Teacher Award
Jennifer Jaso, Sarasota Middle School (Sarasota)

To be eligible for the Mayflower Outstanding Teacher Award, an individual must be a Florida History Fair participant with at least three years of experience. The recipient will receive a $250 prize, sponsored by the Florida Society of Mayflower Descendants and presented at the FHF state contest Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Jaso teaches ancient civilizations, civics, and US history for sixth to eighth grades and has involved her students in National History Day for nine years.

Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award

The Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award is given to an outstanding junior division and senior division National History Day educator. The recipients receive a check for $500 and become Florida's nominees for the junior and senior Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Awards that are presented at the national contest.

Steven Hammerman - Junior Division, The Weiss School (Palm Beach)

Mr. Hammerman teaches US and Florida history, ancient civilizations, and human geography. He has been a National History Day educator for six years. He is praised by colleagues, school administrators, and parents for his innovative, inspiring, and creative teaching methods and his commitment to students during and after school.

Brandon Rader - Senior Division, St. Petersburg High School (Pinellas)

Mr. Rader teaches Pre-IB world and US history and AP macroeconomics. Although 2015 was his first year as a National History Day educator, he was able to involve the entire IB sophomore class in the program.

Mayflower Legacy Scholarship Award

The $500 Mayflower Scholarship is sponsored by the Florida Society of Mayflower Descendants. It is awarded to a historical paper or documentary entry that competed in the state competition. The entry had to relate to a person, event, or idea that lived or occurred in the 16th, 17th, or early 18th century in Western Europe or North America. The entry was also required to focus on the impact of that person, event, or idea on the development of the United States as a nation today with a unique heritage of liberty and law.

Ronak Agarwal, Pasco County

The Life and Legacy of James Cook
Charles S. Rushe Middle School
Teachers: Tina Fields & Jennifer O'Connor-Podraza


1st Place Salvador Dali: The Madman Behind American Modern Art
Junior Group Website
Allison ChanceFort Clarke Middle School
Caroline TosoliniFort Clarke Middle School
2nd Place The Ripple Effect: The 1918 Influenza Epidemic
Junior Group Documentary
Avery GoodmanFort Clarke Middle School
Natalie FutchFort Clarke Middle School
3rd Place From the Wright Brothers to the Flight Brothers: How Two Small-Town Siblings Created Aviation
Junior Individual Website
Austin RoweFort Clarke Middle School
1st Place Women During and Post WWII: Exploring Rights, Encountering Problems, Exchanging Ideas
Junior Group Documentary
Deborah Cook Bay Haven Charter Middle School
Ekaterina Akulova Bay Haven Charter Middle School
1st Place The Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette Junior Historical Paper
Flora Ranis American Heritage School
1st Place Boundless Possibilities: America's Journey to the Moon Junior Individual Documentary
Joshua Hoffman American Heritage School
1st Place How the US Dollar Rebuilt the World Junior Individual Exhibit
Rudy Moise American Heritage School
1st Place Encounter Among the Stars
Senior Group Documentary
Christopher Schunk Calvary Christian Academy
Kaley Hendry Calvary Christian Academy
Gabrielle Cahill Calvary Christian Academy
Nicholas Hadler Calvary Christian Academy
Theo Linardic Calvary Christian Academy
2nd Place The Saga of the USS Jeannette
Junior Group Exhibit
Rajat Ramesh American Heritage School
Rohit Ramesh American Heritage School
3rd Place King Leopold III's Rule of the Congo: An Exploitive Exchange
Senior Group Website
Evan Zeiger The North Broward Preparatory Schools
Evan Von Oehsen The North Broward Preparatory Schools
3rd Place Anne Hutchinson: Exploration of Religious Freedom in the New World
Senior Individual Performance
Elizabeth Garrison Pembroke Pines Charter High School
3rd Place Women Explorers in Science: Encountering and Overcoming Barriers
Junior Group Performance
Isabelle Origlio James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School
Sri Meghana Kopparthi James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School
1st Place E is for Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange, Sesame Street: Exploring Educational Television and Its Benefits, Encountering Social Changes, and Exchanging Ideas for Foreign Co-productions
Senior Individual Documentary
Parker Beverly Pensacola High School
2nd Place The Power of Purse Over Politics: The Rise of the Panton Leslie Company and the Forbes Purchase
Senior Historical Paper
Gorham Partington Pensacola High School
3rd Place Mongols: Conquerors of the World
Junior Group Website
Sami Humeda Creative Learning Academy
Mehul Kapur Creative Learning Academy
Luca Benny Creative Learning Academy
Nicholas Skoufis Creative Learning Academy
2nd Place Harlem Renaissance
Senior Group Performance
Jasmine Jean-Marie Weeki Wachee High School
Hannah Jean-Marie Weeki Wachee High School
Madeline Jean-Marie Weeki Wachee High School
3rd Place Jackie Cochran and the WASP, Encountering WWII
Junior Individual Documentary
William An Powell Middle School
3rd Place Sergei Korolev: the Seacoast of the Universe
Senior Group Documentary
Dustin Faulkenberry Frank W. Springstead High School
Stefanos Belavilas Frank W. Springstead High School
Will Rainsberger Frank W. Springstead High School
2nd Place Henry B. Plant: Putting Tampa on the Map
Senior Group Website
McKenna Barkett Carrollwood Day School
Jake Flansburg Carrollwood Day School
3rd Place Ybor City: Manufacturing Cigars, Building Community
Junior Group Exhibit
Isabella Roman Buchanan Middle School
Benjamin Hense Buchanan Middle School
3rd Place Asian Americans and You: Minority Activism and Its Effects on U.S. Citizens
Senior Historical Paper
Sean Nguyen Berkley Preparatory School
2nd Place Reform of Japan: The Interactions Between the American Occupants and War-Torn Japan
Senior Individual Website
Eri Ishikawa East Ridge High School
3rd Place Trail of Tears
Senior Individual Exhibit
Tina Yang Fort Myers High School
3rd Place X-Ray Vision: Exploring "New Light"
Senior Individual Documentary
Kelsey Parker Fort Myers High School
1st Place The World's Columbian Exposition: The Fair that Changed America
Senior Group Website
Isabella Yallapragada James Rickards High School
Amanda Wiman James Rickards High School
2nd Place John B. Watson: Exploring Behaviorism in Early Psychology
Senior Individual Performance
Martine M. Fredrickson Leon High School
2nd Place The Silk Road
Junior Individual Exhibit
Lin Ai Liao Cornerstone Learning Community
2nd Place Andrew Jackson Higgins: The Man That Won World War II and the City That Helped Him
Junior Group Website
Meredith Anne Camron Sacred Heart Home Educators
John Paul Camron Sacred Heart Home Educators
1st Place Nellie Bly: Daring Reporter Who Changed The World
Senior Group Performance
Zoe Zimmermann Manatee School For The Arts
Sara Sutton Manatee School For The Arts
Adam Fuentes Manatee School For The Arts
3rd Place The Belgian Congo: Imperialism at Its Peak
Senior Individual Website
Mateus Urbanski State College Of Florida Collegiate School
1st Place Encountering the Truth
Senior Individual Exhibit
Megan Tonko American Heritage School Of Boca/Delray
2nd Place Nikola Tesla: The Stupendous Possibility of Achievement
Junior Group Performance
Asher Moss The Weiss School
Nanako Kondo The Weiss School
Zoe Krishtul The Weiss School
2nd Place Sacagawea: Cultural Exchange through New Encounters
Senior Group Exhibit
Lauren Pinero-Colon Land O' Lakes High School
Isabella Torres Land O' Lakes High School
3rd Place Florida's Encounter with Hurricane Andrew
Junior Group Documentary
Jacqueline Cupo Pasco Middle School
Arielle Meier Pasco Middle School
Emerson Parks Pasco Middle School
3rd Place Marco Polo: More Than Just a Pool Game
Junior Individual Performance
Pierce Thomas Centennial Middle School
1st Place Amelia Island's Tug of Wars: East Florida's Struggle for Independence
Junior Group Exhibit
Peyton Kovatch Safety Harbor Middle School
Hailey Zier Safety Harbor Middle School
1st Place The Women's Rights Movement (1848–1920): The Hard Fight for Suffrage
Junior Individual Website
Kiana Barruel Safety Harbor Middle School
1st Place Parting Shots: Exploring the Power of Political Prose through Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton's Encounters and Exchanges
Junior Group Performance
Cal Barton Shorecrest Preparatory School
Oliver Hess Shorecrest Preparatory School
1st Place Fifteen Cents to See the Infants on Display
Senior Group Exhibit
Gabrielle Hines Palm Harbor University High
Jennifer Gilby Palm Harbor University High
1st Place Salvador Dali: I Am Not Mad
Senior Individual Performance
Amy Radwan Largo High School
2nd Place Battlefield Afghanistan: Exploring the Conflict of the Soviet-Afghan War
Junior Individual Documentary
Divya Arora Dunedin Highland Middle School
2nd Place The Lumiere Brothers: Illuminating Motion Pictures
Junior Individual Performance
Elana Treiser Safety Harbor Middle School
3rd Place Florence Nightingale and Her Exchange of Letters
Senior Group Performance
Kayelin Leonhirth Shorecrest Preparatory School
Mariah Vesely Shorecrest Preparatory School
Santa Rosa
1st Place Lies, Spies, and Sneaky Guys: Traitor or Trader, You Decide
Junior Individual Performance
Max Mateer Gulf Breeze Middle School
2nd Place Quackenbush's Gypsies: Photographic Exploration, Encounters and Exchanges in the Pacific Theater
Junior Individual Website
Hailey Ward Gulf Breeze Middle School
2nd Place Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: First Encounter in Space
Junior Historical Paper
Elizabeth McCluskey Gulf Breeze Middle School
3rd Place Exploring the Heart: The Exchange That Encountered Controversy and Shaped Society
Junior Historical Paper
Genna Hoitt Gulf Breeze Middle School
2nd Place Jane Goodall: Redefining Mankind
Senior Group Documentary
Srinija Cherivirala Seminole High School
Caitlin Chen Seminole High School
Richa Bhavsar Seminole High School
2nd Place English: The Language That United the World
Senior Individual Documentary
Malavika Kannan Seminole High School
St. Johns
1st Place Can You Tell Me How We Got To Sesame Street? Exploring a New Realm of Education
Senior Individual Website
Danielle Haddock Creekside High School
St. Lucie
3rd Place Everest: Because It's There
Senior Group Exhibit
Kacey Rigano College Preparatory Academy Of The Treasure Coast
Karina Tabar College Preparatory Academy Of The Treasure Coast
2nd Place The Apollo Program
Senior Individual Exhibit
Summer Cowan Father Lopez High School
3rd Place A Salute to the Tuskegee Airmen
Junior Individual Exhibit
Trevor Simoneau Saint Barnabas Episcopal School


About Florida History Fair:
Florida History Fair is part of National History Day (NHD). NHD was established in 1974 to promote history in the classroom by offering students the means and encouragement to research people, ideas, and events of the past. The 2015–16 theme is "Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.” After analyzing and interpreting the information they have gathered, students express their findings in a paper, exhibit, performance, documentary, or website. More than 50,000 students participated in the 2015–16 Florida History Fair. For more information visit: