Sonoma County Office of Education

Local Students Shine in State History Competition

06/05/2020 -

After months of intensive research and success at district- and county-level competitions, young Sonoma County historians were recognized this May at the 2020 National History Day—California competition, which was held virtually this year.

The competition was held virtually in response to stay-at-home orders in place because of COVID-19. Nearly 1,700 students—from 294 schools across 29 counties—competed at the state level in 2020. Students engaged in project-based learning and chose their own topics of study, which needed to be connected to this year’s theme: Breaking Barriers in History. In total, more than 600,000 students across the country participate in the year-long National History Day program each year, and more than 40,000 students participate across California.

Callaghan Faircloth, a sixth-grade student at Madrone Elementary in Rincon Valley Union School District, was named runner-up in the junior individual exhibit category and won two special awards. His presentation, “Plant Genomics: Breaking the Barrier of World Hunger,” received the “Science in History Special Award” and the “Scientific Breakthroughs in History” Special Award.

Two other Sonoma County Students were recognized as finalists. Pleasant Hill Christian School student Julian Bolt was named finalist in the website category for his presentation, “The Douglas DC-3: The Plane that Changed the World.” Whitney Cia and Lilah Kerr, also from Madrone Elementary in Rincon Valley, were named finalists in the junior group exhibit category.

“As a former history teacher, I am proud to see Sonoma County students shining in this statewide event, particularly during such challenging times,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools at the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). SCOE sponsors local students’ participation in the state event.

Rincon Valley Superintendent Tracy Smith added, “Rincon Valley is extremely proud of our student honorees and wish to acknowledge the wonderful learning captured in this experience.”

Sixty-two students will represent California at the National History Day virtual competition, to be held June 14–18, 2020. View the Award Ceremony Video: 2020 National History Day—California. A list of all statewide champions is available on the National History Day—California Website.