Students Across New Mexico … Three In Los Alamos Named Finalists In National History Day State Contest

NMHC News:
More than 215 students from across New Mexico competed April 6 at the state National History Day (NHD) event at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Of the 143 contestants who took home awards, 62 won first or second place earning them a finalist distinction. Finalists earn the privilege of competing at the national competition in June in College Park, Md.
Los Alamos Middle School students, guided by teacher Caroline Haagenstad, received three major awards:
  • Los Alamos Middle School student Kaya Loy won second place for her website on the Cherokee Trail of Tears, which also won the Western Trails Award in the junior division;
  • Los Alamos Middle School student Mikahl Adams won second place for his performance on Gavrilo Princip; and
  • Los Alamos High School student Abigail Beus won second place for her paper on the atomic bomb, which also won the Western History Award in the senior division.
Twenty-five students from five Albuquerque schools took home awards from the state NHD contest. Albuquerque Christian School students, with the support and guidance of veteran NHD teacher Dawn McKenzie, earned several awards. Owen Currier won first place for his documentary No Return Home: Tragic Loss of White Sands Ranch Land Becomes National Space Program which also won the New Mexico State History Award. Other first place winners include Steven West for his individual performance Racing Against Racism: Triumph and Tragedy in the Life of Jesse Owens, and Carolina and Carlos Gallegos for their group performance about the tragedy of the Titanic. Zada-Jeanne Hise, Emma Jeu and Jenea Leisman earned second place for their group performance about Alice Paul. Third place honors and a Women’s History Award went to Ryder McElveny for his exhibit on the Frisco Wars.
Cien Aguas Community School, with the guidance of Reanna Servatt, took home second place awards with a WWll Kindertransport group documentary presented by June Christman, Ava Dougherty and Victoria Scott, and the group documentary The Art and Artists of the Holocaust presented by Schacty Diaz, Yesenia Esquivel and Aylin Rascon, who also won the Jewish History Award. Adair Cervantes, Daniel Corral, Emily Jimenez, Nicole Olivas, and Marie Valle earned third place honors for their group exhibit on the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Hope Christian School’s Faith Pino wrote second place paper Unity is the Cure.
Immanuel Lutheran School student, Kiran Goradia, earned third place for her website Life as an Imprisoned Japanese American.
Early College Academy student, Nathaniel Mertz, won the Office of the State Historian Award for his exhibit on Robert J. Oppenheimer.
Twelve students from three schools in Farmington received awards. Heights Middle School students took home four awards. Aubrey Jones earned first place for her exhibit Unit 731: Human Extermination and One of the Biggest Cover Ups. Piper Rietz took second place for her documentary Bloody Sundayabout the civil rights movement. The Captain Victor A. Moitoret Memorial Award was presented to Ashby Pandya for her exhibit on Pearl Harbor and the History of Technology Award for junior division was presented to Desmond McCay for his website on nuclear fission.
Hermosa Middle School student, Trey Jones, won first place and the American Military History Award for junior division for his paper Leo Szilard’s Impact: A Triumph of Science and a Tragedy of Nations.
Farmington High School student Kianna Pete with her second place documentary The American Indian Movement: “A Broken Circle” which also won the Civil Rights History Award for the senior division. Her teacher, Erin Gockel, was recently nominated for a national award thanks to her work supporting NHD in Farmington.
San Juan College High School teacher, Greg Harvel, guided first place winners Makala Davidson and Fiona Mae Balasuit with their website about Roe v. Wade and Western Trails Award winners Hyrum Harris, Cameron Collyer, Dalaney Washburn, and Heather Wheeler for their group performance The Trail to Utah.
Mohammad Badawy from Arrowhead Park Early College High School represented Las Cruces well, by winning first place for his paper The False Triumph and the Forgotten Tragedy: The Suez Crisis and the Story of the Deception of the Egyptian People.


Twenty-four students from Moriarty High School, with support from NHD veteran teacher, Amy Page, were honored for their outstanding projects. First place winners include Benjamin Marquez and Joey Gonzalez for their performance Combating the Segregation Tragedy: The Triumph of Military Integration; Rebekah Page for her exhibit Decoding Crime: The DNA Demands a Verdict; Sam Berry, Ashley Strader and Grace McCleave for their group documentary Drafting an Army of Ghosts,  which also won the senior division American Military History Award; Kacie Armendariz and Pedro Sandoval for their exhibit on the polio vaccine; and Madi Schlosser for her performance Pride and Prejudice: When Lesbians and Gays Supported the Miners, which also won the Dr. Philip Cook Memorial Award.
Moriarty High School second place award winners include Henry Schuett, Andres Chavez and William Henry for their group performance on prohibition and Caia Kaplain and Angelica Trillo for their website A Triumphant Rise, A Tragic Fall: Black Wall Street. Third place honors went to Martin Tapia for his exhibit Conscientious Scruples: The First Amendment Tragedy That Became A Triumph; Aiden Howells for his website on the Dust Bowl, which also won the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum Agricultural History Prize; Sierra Trabosci for her paper on Tammany Hall; and Nicole Wells, Madison Satterfield and Yamil Sotelo for their group exhibit Powell v. Alabama: The Constitutional Triumph of the Scottsboro Tragedy.
The Asian History special award was received by Araceli Kamplain, Isidro Gauna, Milo Trujillo, Alyssa Sanchez for their group website Japanese Triumph and the Death March from Bataan.
Led by teachers, Drew Sedrel and Laurel LeGate, Alice King Community School took home several first placements: Eco Chavez for his website Rachel Carson’s Hidden Spring which also won the Environmental History Award; Joaquin de la Cruz, Maya Hicks and Erin Potts for their group website on prohibition; and Briana and Keith Robertson for their group exhibit on basketball legend Oscar Robertson which also earned the Sports History Award.
Rio Rancho Middle School, guided by teachers Stephanie Wilson and Roberta Swan, took home four awards. Third place honors went to Javas Maria for his documentary Miguel Trujillo-Native American Voting Rights which also won the Native American History Award and to Hailey Apolino for her performance about the 1899 newsboy strike which also won the Labor History Award.
Rio Rancho High School student Macy Vereb’s exhibit on Jiang Qing and the Cultural Revolution won second place with the guidance of teacher Martina Gutierrez.
Silver High School students, with the support and guidance of veteran NHD teacher Claudie Thompson, placed highly across many categories. First place winners include Rechelle Gutierrez for her documentary on Robert F. Kennedy and Katherine Brown for her website on the life of Malcom X. Katherine also received the African American History Award for her project. Second place winners will also be representing New Mexico at the national contest and include Jaimy Flores and Maci Porter for their group exhibit on the history of antiseptics; Callie Konopnicki for her Jackie Kennedy performance, which also won the senior division Women’s History Award; Parker MacMillan for his website on the life of Joe Louis; and Hailey Cisneros, Mikaela Johnson, Christian Kilgore, and Gabriel Perez  for their documentary about the Dominican Mirabal sisters, which also received the Hispano/Chicano/Latino History Award.
Other award winners from Silver High School include Katherine Dunlap who received the senior division Santa Fe Trails Award for her paper on the wild horses in North America and third place finalists Alyssa Newman and Ella Bower with a documentary on Bobby Fischer, which also won the Cold War History Award; Kendra McNeil’s documentary on the 1959 Cuban revolution; Allison Barnes for her performance about the life of Freddy Mercury which earned the LGBTQI2S Award; Ian Valenzuela, Reagen Barragan and Angelina Sanderson for their group performance on the history of the Amber Alert; and Avery Beck, Michael Calkins and Milton Perkins for their group website on the history of the moon landing which also earned them the senior division History of Technology Award.
La Plata Middle School students, led by Dayna Jones, veteran NHD teacher, also made a strong showing at the state contest. Krysten Jones and Gianna Rico placed first and received the Medical History Award for their documentary Angel of the Battlefield Clara Barton. Second place awards went to Dawn Jameson, Nana Lloyd-Mills and Nalani Walsmith for their website Adolf Althoff: Rescue In The Circus; Anson Beck, Isaac Beck and Joshua Beck for their group exhibit on Franklin D. Roosevelt; and Kathryn Woodward for her exhibit on Irene Sendler’s humanitarian work during World War II. Third place honors went to Dace Begay and Lane Porter for their website on the Navajo Code Talkers which also earned the junior division Civil Rights History Award and Kylee Jones, Mitchell Konopnicki and Rio Koury for their group performance on the life of Harry Houdini.
Ms. Dayna Jones also assisted Harrison Schmitt Elementary School student Maxwell Johnson to achieve recognition for his documentary on the American cartoonist, Charles Schulz.
National History Day is an academic enrichment program for students in grades 6-12. Students select topics connected to an annual theme and complete their own in-depth research on the topic. This year, the annual theme is “Triumph and Tragedy.” Students present their conclusions by creating museum-style exhibits, media documentaries, research papers, interactive websites, and dramatic performances. The school event is the first step in a competition cycle that can take students from the school level to regional, state, and national competitions. At each level of competition students share their work with their peers, historians, educators, and professionals in related fields as they compete for over $6000 in cash awards and the opportunity to advance to the next level of competition.
Participation in the program continues to grow with more than 500,000 students participating annually across the nation. The National History Day program in New Mexico is coordinated by the New Mexico Humanities Council and is sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the University of New Mexico, the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the Los Alamos Historical Society. More information on National History Day in New Mexico can be found at
LOS ALAMOS website support locally by OviNuppi Systems