2018 Florida History Day
State Contest Winners

The following teachers and students received awards at the Florida History Day state competition Awards Ceremony on May 8, 2018.



Junior Historical Paper

Placement Entry
1st Place

Eli Smith
30 Days Hath September: The Betrayal at Munich
Homeschool (Santa Rosa)
Teacher: Caroline Smith

2nd Place

Olivia Fuller
A Tumultuous Tributary: The Tennessee Valley
Dunedin Highland Middle School (Pinellas)
Teacher: Teresa Bergstrom

3rd Place

Madeleine Wilson
Nelson Mandela: Conflict in the Rivonia Trial and the Compromise to End Apartheid
Bay Haven Charter Middle School (Bay)
Teachers: Randy Wolfe, Erin Pickard

Senior Historical Paper

Placement Entry
1st Place

Graybill Partington
The Pensacola Lunch Counter Sit-Ins: Creating Conflict to Compel Compromise
Pensacola High School (Escambia)
Teacher: Michael Jones

2nd Place

Sophia Hirst
"Together Let Us Explore the Stars:" Collaboration in Space Exploration During the Cold War
St. Petersburg High School (Pinellas)
Teacher: Brandon Rader

3rd Place

Steven Keppinger
The MPAA Rating System Controversy
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teachers: Leslie Porges, Kimberly Hughes

Junior Individual Documentary

Placement Entry
1st Place

Alexander Hoffman
Don't Wave Farewell
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teacher: Leslie Porges

2nd Place

Janani Iyengar
Kellogg-Briand Pact
Deerlake Middle School (Leon)
Teacher: Amise Manuel-Fletcher

3rd Place

Audrey Everett
The Forgotten Death of 50 Million: The Spanish Flu
Madison Middle School (Hillsborough)
Teacher: Terrasa Rafferty

Junior Group Documentary

Placement Entry
1st Place

Mack Alfele, Jack Lohse
South Florida: The Staging Ground for a Nuclear Showdown
Beachside Montessori Village (Broward)
Teacher: Nancy Roman

2nd Place

Ritisha Suresh, Ashali Sharma
The Peace of Westphalia: A Compromise that Shaped Our Modern World
Sanford Middle School (Seminole)
Teacher: Mike Travis

3rd Place

Saniya Kulkarni, Swetha Anand
The Indo-Pakistani Conflicts: War Stories of Two Rival Neighbors
James Weldon Johnson College Prepartory Middle School (Duval)
Teacher: Amanda Swearingen

Senior Individual Documentary

Placement Entry
1st Place

Parker Beverly
Stepping Out of the Cult of Domesticity and into a Man's World: Margaret Bourke White: Battling Conflicts of Misogyny, McCarthy's Blacklisting, and Parkinson's, while Compromising Societal Norms
Pensacola High School (Escambia)
Teacher: Michael Jones

2nd Place

Kat Akulova
Reagan and Gorbachev: From Confrontation to Cooperation
J.R. Arnold High School (Bay)
Teachers: Gabriel Margulies, Caroline Woodyard

3rd Place

Kaihua "William" Hou
From Conflict to Compromises: The Evolution of China-US Relations
The King's Academy (Palm Beach)
Teacher: Nikki Berger

Senior Group Documentary

Placement Entry
1st Place

Ana Curi, Tomas Arroyo
The Apollo-Soyuz Mission
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teachers: Leslie Porges, Paul Shaffer

2nd Place

Endora Ankrah, Emma Barrett, Maya Eason
The Berlin Conference
Land O' Lakes High School (Pasco)
Teacher: Jennifer O'Connor-Podraza

3rd Place

Divij Lankalapalli, Jay Nibhanupudy, Yash Vardhan, Rohan Cherivirala
Federal Reserve: Indebted to the Dollar
Seminole High School (Seminole)
Teachers: Mike Travis, Guy Stump

Junior Individual Performance

Placement Entry
1st Place

Ruby Tilghman
Sugar Fight and Everything Nice: Women in World War II on the Homefront and Beyond
North Bay Haven Charter Academy Middle School (Bay)
Teacher: Cheryl Duncan

2nd Place

Stewart Fulford
The Best We Could Get: Conflict and Compromise at Yalta
Gulf Breeze Middle School (Santa Rosa)
Teacher: Grace Freeman

3rd Place

Seaira Anderson
We the People: How the Federalists and Anti-Federalists United the States
Safety Harbor Middle School (Pinellas)
Teacher: Amanda Dogu

Junior Group Performance

Placement Entry
1st Place

Alejandra Abramson, Diya Goel
A Child Shall Lead the Way: The Ruby Bridges Story
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teacher: Leslie Porges

2nd Place

Hiley Sherrell, Chloe Baker, Ashley Mattson, Tiffany Dove
The Free People's Organization Will Be: Polish Solidarity Conflict of 1981-1989
Dunedin Highland Middle School (Pinellas)
Teacher: Teresa Bergstrom

3rd Place

Amanda Miller, Rylee Siegel
Equal Pay for Equal Work
American Heritage School Of Boca/Delray (Palm Beach)
Teacher: Mindy Greenberg

Senior Individual Performance

Placement Entry
1st Place

Maxanthony "Max" Mateer
Pushing the Pawn from the Purchase to the Pacific
Pensacola High School (Escambia)
Teacher: Michael Jones

2nd Place

Walker Willis
An Unexpected Party
Shorecrest Preparatory School (Pinellas)
Teacher: Ron Heller

3rd Place

Cathia Oge
Haitian Revolution: How the African Slaves Led Themselves to Freedom
Port St. Lucie High School (St. Lucie)
Teachers: Valerie Arendas, Bronte Walsh

Senior Group Performance

Placement Entry
1st Place

Schuyler Thompson, MacLaine Thompson, Carlie Sullivan, Faith Eaton
Woman Uprising: Rose Schneiderman
Real Life Christian Academy (Lake)
Teachers: Mark Dineen, Steve Lebron

2nd Place

Miranda Mays, Ashlyn Hull
The Berlin Wall: A Series of Conflicts and Compromises
Weeki Wachee High School (Hernando)
Teacher: Damien Clark

3rd Place

Tayana Rich, Angela Tran, Mombo Ngu, Ivy Ng, Calyne Sayoc
The Partition of India
Darnell Cookman Middle/High School (Duval)
Teacher: Catherine Regan

Junior Individual Exhibit

Placement Entry
1st Place

Grace Mims
Love Canal: A Legacy of Doubt
Gulf Breeze Middle School (Santa Rosa)
Teacher: Grace Freeman

2nd Place

Derek Sweet
Clarence Gideon's Conflict Brought About Compromise in the Legal System
William J Montford Iii Middle School (Leon)
Teacher: Mike Sever

3rd Place

Zoey Schneider
Wall of Exclusion: The Compromise of 504
Coleman Middle School (Hillsborough)
Teacher: Karen Wilkins

Junior Group Exhibit

Placement Entry
1st Place

Lucas Garcia, Miguel Heredia
Texas: War of Independence
Sarasota Middle School (Sarasota)
Teacher: Jennifer Jaso

2nd Place

Hana Starkman, Nicole Gorbatov
Fields of Despair
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teacher: Leslie Porges

3rd Place

Ariadna Hiller, Joshua Sherman
The Brink and Diplomacy: Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
Fau/Slcsd Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition (St. Lucie)
Teachers: Patricia Wright, Heather Prince

Senior Individual Exhibit

Placement Entry
1st Place

Sarah Robison
This Is My War, Too!
Homeschool (Hillsborough)
Teacher: Deborah Robison

2nd Place

Sarah Schoellhorn
Margaret Sanger: Choosing a Life of Conflict to Gain Women's Reproductive Rights
Carrollwood Day School (Hillsborough)
Teacher: sabrina McCartney

3rd Place

Leah Rogers
The Unconquered People of the Everglades
Calvary Christian Academy (Broward)
Teachers: Richard Blatz, Sharon Low, Ben Bordy

Senior Group Exhibit

Placement Entry
1st Place

Gopi Patel, Shivni Patel
"Commerciogenic Malnutrition": Conflict and Compromise in the Infant Formula Controversy in the 1970s
Pine View School (Sarasota)
Teacher: Carol Lavallee

2nd Place

Bailey Fawcett, Payton Fawcett, Lily Kalandjian
The Iranian Hostage Crisis
The North Broward Preparatory Schools (Broward)
Teachers: Michelle Henne, Jason O'Connor, Keith Lindsley

3rd Place

Creed King, Bayan Bahmani
"Not Just Peanuts" Yielding the Fruit of Human Rights Agenda, Jimmy Carter's Uncompromising Quest for Peace
Leon High School (Leon)
Teachers: Jeannine Meis, Erica Sears

Junior Individual Website

Placement Entry
1st Place

Blair Haft
The Iranian Hostage Crisis
American Academy Of Boca/Delray (Palm Beach)
Teacher: Mindy Greenberg

2nd Place

Olivia Biggs
Coming Eye to Eye in the Cuban Missile Crisis
American Heritage School Of Boca/Delray (Palm Beach)
Teacher: Mindy Greenberg

3rd Place

Tzu-Chin Hsu
Dinner over Deadlocks: The Compromise of 1790
William J Montford Iii Middle School (Leon)
Teacher: Stacy Thompson

Junior Group Website

Placement Entry
1st Place

Srivdya Donthineni, Mahathi Tallapraganda
The Kashmir Conflict: A World of War
Fairview Middle School (Leon)
Teachers: Maganne Stewart, Daniel Mayer

2nd Place

Amari Porter, Sofia Aronsky
The Black Panther Party
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teacher: Leslie Porges

3rd Place

Ryan Daunt, Camila Nunez, Casey Slay, Corey Starves, Shane Stewart
Turnaround Tuesday
Sacred Heart Home Educators (Leon)
Teachers: Carrie Daunt, Cathy Nunez

Senior Individual Website

Placement Entry
1st Place

Jiayong (Celia) Lu
Little Ball Moved the Big Ball
American Heritage/Plantation (Broward)
Teachers: Leslie Porges, Kimberly Hughes

2nd Place

Anand Sharma
The Partition of India
The North Broward Preparatory Schools (Broward)
Teachers: Michelle Henne, Jason O'Connor

3rd Place

Sophia Vesely
Mistress Cheng I Sao: The Ruthless Pirate that Ruled the South China Sea
St. Petersburg High School (Pinellas)
Teacher: Brandon Rader

Senior Group Website

Placement Entry
1st Place

Lauren Hagy, Carolyn Hagy
Conflict without Compromise and the Decades of Strife over Palestine
Pensacola High School (Escambia)
Teacher: Michael Jones

2nd Place

Sophia Chen, Kyle Nguyen
The New and The Old: Discovering a New America from the Nations of Many
Palm Harbor University High (Pinellas)
Teacher: Jason Tsardoulias

3rd Place

Kiran Ganga, Maya Srinivasan
Hear Not, See Not, Speak Not: The Scopes Trial of 1925
Palm Harbor University High (Pinellas)
Teacher: Jason Tsardoulias

Teacher of Merit Award

Florida History Day 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 FHD participant. The $250 prize is sponsored by Flagler College Tallahassee, which is based at Tallahassee Community College.

Kelly L. Vaughn

Patriot Oaks Academy in St. Johns County

Kelly Vaughn is the social studies department chair at Patriot Oaks Academy, where she teaches eighth grade US history. When her teaching career began seventeen years ago—first with fourth- and then with fifth-grade gifted students—she used techniques such as mock trials and student interactions with actual attorneys and judges to inspire a passion for inquiry and a connection to real-world experiences. She also fostered a sense of commitment to community. After brainstorming ways to help others, her students arranged a special event for a child in need through the Dreams Come True foundation. Later, after Hurricane Katrina, another project to gather school and personal supplies for displaced kids became a city-wide mission that resulted in a truck-load of backpacks being sent to Louisiana. Five years ago, Ms. Vaughn incorporated National History Day as a classroom strategy to help students hone research and inquiry skills that are learned in libraries and archives, rather than online. About the same time, she moved to middle school instruction and continue her goal to instill character building and civic engagement with her. She now organizes an annual student trip to the nation's capital, and each year she takes a group of middle schoolers to Uvita, Costa Rica, where her students work with local children at an after-school program, stay with a local family, and become immersed in the culture and history of the country. Ms. Vaughn also is a leading spokesperson for NHD's inquiry-based methodology and related strategies among her colleagues throughout St. John's County.

Mayflower Outstanding Teacher Award

Stephanie Moody

Herbert Hoover Middle School in Brevard County

In Ms. Moody's eighth-grade US history class, her students' participation in the National History Day competition serves as the cornerstone for their curriculum. NHD helps her bring authentic learning opportunities to her students. When they begin the school year, Ms. Moody often finds that her students have a scant, basic, and sometimes historically inaccurate knowledge of US history. It is her mission to challenge them to dig deeper and consider history from perspectives other than their own to understand how those events and people affect the world we live in today. At the beginning of each week, Ms. Moody teaches students a skill that they will need in order to have a successful NHD project. She uses US history content standards to reinforce each new skill so students learn to think critically and formulate new ideas. To help students learn about the analysis of primary source documents, she invites Florida Historical Society archivist Ben DiBiase to bring archival materials to her classroom for students to study and interpret. For their NHD project, students are encouraged to select a primary source related to their topic for analysis. The students work together to evaluate the analyses of each other and give feedback. Her goal is to present students with hands-on learning opportunities as often as possible so they can take ownership of new ideas. Ms. Moody believes that NHD has helped her to improve her practice as a teacher and her collaboration with colleagues locally and in other states. Through NHD, she is able to introduce and reinforce ideas and skills that her students will take with them even after they leave her classroom.

The junior division nominee for the James T. Harris Award

Dr. Jennifer Jaso

Jaso of Sarasota Middle School in Sarasota County

Dr. Jaso, who teaches eighth-grade gifted social studies, inspires students to give 100 percent effort by modeling her own commitment and dedication in her daily interactions with them. She not only has led her students in a quest for knowledge through the implementation of National History Day, but she also has opened her classroom to students of other teachers on campus so that all students may have the opportunity and experience of doing an in-depth research project that examines content connected to an overarching theme. Dr. Jaso is not compensated for these efforts; she does it to encourage a love history and learning. She is willing to go above and beyond to do what she thinks is best for all learners.

Jeannine Meis

Leon High School in Leon County

Mrs. Meis actually began her career as an actress, but refocused her energy on education when she realized that the work seemed without purpose and she knew that she wanted to make an impact. Since acquiring her teaching credentials, she has worked her way through elementary, middle, and high school classrooms in Leon County, and National History Day has been a prominent partner in her academic strategies. Her students routinely have been state-level winners, and in 2017, two of her students were first place winners in the national contest. She also has shared her expertise with the Florida History Day program since 2007 as a state contest judge. In early January, NHD announced that Mrs. Meis and Isabella Perry, one of her Leon High students, were among fourteen teacher/student teams accepted into NHD's prestigious Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute for 2018.

Mayflower Legacy Scholarship Award

In addition to sponsoring the Mayflower Outstanding Teacher Award, the Florida Society of Mayflower Descendants annually funds a junior-division and senior-division scholarship for students in the amount of $500 each. These awards are open to historical paper or documentary entries on a topic that relates to a person, event, or idea that lived or occurred in the 16th, 17th, or early 18th century in Western Europe or North America. It also must 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.

Junior Division

Judgement Days—The Second Continent Congress

Om Pathak—Junior Historical Paper
Sanford Middle School (Seminole)
Teacher: Mike Travis

National Maritime Historical Society Scholarship

The National Maritime Historical Society (NMHS) sponsors a scholarship for the junior-division and senior-division entry that explores a maritime history topic. The first-place winners in each category receive a $150 scholarship; a one-year membership in NMHS, which includes Sea History magazine; recognition in the magazine and on www.seahistory.org; and a certificate of achievement. Second-place junior and senior winners receive the same prizes except the monetary award. The mentoring teacher of the first-place entry receives a one-year NMHS membership; a two-volume book set titled Voyages: The Age of Sail and Voyages: The Age of Engines; and magazine and website recognition. The mentoring teacher of the second-place winner receives the same prizes except the books.

As part of the Florida History Day state contest, the National Maritime Historical Society sponsors awards for junior- and senior-division entries that explore a maritime history topic such as underwater archaeology, ships, ship construction, artifacts, navigation, seafaring, naval operations, or maritime customs.

First-place winners receive a $150 scholarship, certificate, one-year membership in NMHS, and recognition online and in Sea History magazine. Second-place winners receive the same prizes except the monetary award. The mentoring teachers of these students also receive prizes.

Junior Division

First Place


Conflict Underwater: Who Keeps the Deep-Sea Dollars?

Ishaa Frank, Meghan Kakiel, and Taylor Youngblood—Junior Group Performance
Ramblewood Middle School (Broward)
Teachers: Ellen Davis

Second Place


All Conflict and No Compromise: Florida Department of State v. Treasure Salvors

Cayden Conn—Junior Historical Paper
American Heritage School (Broward)
Teachers: Leslie Porges

Senior Division

First Place


Florida Lighthouses: Friend or Foe in the Civil War

Justin Barber, Baily Palmer, and Kathryne White—Senior Group Exhibit
Harmony High School and Osceola School for the Arts (Osceola)
Teachers: Andrea Darsch