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Contact: Brittany Lesser

Florida History Fair Students Shine at National History Day Contest

Tallahassee –

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is pleased to announce that Florida students excelled at the National History Day competition in College Park, Maryland, winning four national awards and earning other recognitions. Fifty-seven students and ten teachers represented Florida at the national competition, June 16–20, at the University of Maryland. The students' entries won first or second place at the Florida History Fair state contest in May at Tallahassee Community College, sponsored by the Museum of Florida History.

"These young historians spent months conducting extensive research and compiling their findings into a selection of mediums," said Secretary Detzner. "I’m delighted that their work has been recognized with national awards. These outstanding students are shining examples of the young minds in Florida."

The middle and high school students presented their findings in a historical paper, documentary, performance, exhibit, or website related to the 2013–14 theme, “Rights and Responsibilities in History.” More than 60,450 students participate statewide, making Florida the largest program among the fifty-six National History Day affiliates. The national contest drew 3,126 students from the 50 states, District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and international schools in South East Asia. About 600,000 youths participate in the annual National History Day program.

Listed below are Florida’s national-level winners. First-place recipients earn the designation of “NEH Scholar” because their awards are funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

1st Place:  Junior Group Website
Andrew Kolondra, Kishan Patel
Freedom Beach: A History of the Fort Lauderdale Beach Wade-Ins
American Heritage School Plantation (Broward County); Teacher: Leslie Porges

2nd Place: Senior Group Exhibit
Mia Radovanovic, Connor Corbett
Every Man a King: Questioning Right and Long
Palm Harbor University High School (Pinellas County); Teachers: Jason Tsardoulias, Shaun Falcon

3rd Place: Senior Group Documentary
Mikhail London, Valeriy Gataullin
Gorbachev: Wind of Change
American Heritage School Plantation (Broward County); Teachers: Leslie Porges, John Briano

3rd Place: Senior Individual Website
Amy Paskiewicz
Korematsu v. United States: Fighting for Rights, Facing Responsibilities
Palm Harbor University High School (Pinellas County); Teachers: Jason Tsardoulias, Shaun Falcon 

Outstanding State Award Junior Division
Josh Ciarlariello, Evan Bouck, Joshua Macri—Junior Group Documentary
The Atomic Responsibility
Community Christian School (Leon County); Teacher: Matt Root

Outstanding State Award Senior Division
Madeline Bookout—Senior Individual Documentary
An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Responsible Politics and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Gulf Breeze High School (Santa Rosa County); Teacher: Grace Freeman


Finalists are students whose entry is among the top fourteen projects in the world in their division and category.

4th Place: Junior Individual Performance
Gabriela Coutinho
From Hidden to Champions: Special Olympics and Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver
American Heritage School Plantation (Broward County); Teacher: Leslie Porges

4th Place: Senior Individual Website
Nathan Morse
Gideon v. Wainwright: Protecting the Right to Counsel
Leon High School (Leon County); Teacher: Kathleen McCarron

5th Place: Junior Group Exhibit
Cali Cortelli, Logan Roberts
Lewis Hine: Child Labor
American Heritage School Plantation (Broward County); Teacher: Leslie Porges

7th Place: Senior Group Exhibit
Sujaya Rajguru, Samantha Kunin, Ashley Mathew
The First Ms. with the Right to an M.D.: Elizabeth Blackwell
International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High School (Polk County); Teacher: Ted Wright

8th Place: Senior Individual Exhibit
Holly Gorton
Pullman Porters Pave the Way for Civil Rights
Pensacola High School (Escambia County); Teacher: W. Blevins Rose

12th Place: Junior Historical Paper
Sara Buchanan
Gideon v. Wainwright: The Right to Counsel
Bellview Middle School (Escambia County); Teacher: Tina Witbracht

National Museum of American History
The senior group exhibit by Sujaya Rajguru, Samantha Kunin, and Ashley Mathew, The First Ms. with the Right to an M.D.: Elizabeth Blackwell, represented Florida at the National Museum of American History on June 18. Each NHD affiliate selected an exhibit to be displayed during daytime public hours and during a special “National History Night” for NHD participants in the evening.

A list of state and national winners and Florida History Fair sponsors can be viewed at

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About National History Day

National History Day is a year-long educational program for students in grades 6 to 12 that enhances research, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills through the process of historical discovery.  The fifty-seven students who advanced to the NHD contest were winners at the Florida History Fair in May. About 1,000 students representing thirty counties competed at the state level. 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.