Twenty-one Star City students will advance to the state History Day contest after placing in the Arkansas Region 4 National History Day Contest at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

The winners, pictured above, are (front row) Alexia Lams, Jaliyah Brown, Alyssa Teague, Josie Floyd, Sydney Ross, Brianna Luker, Sadie Whaley and Gail Magana (back row) John Elrod, Connor White, Andrew Venditti, Grant Atwood, Karsyn Baugh, Ravyin Callaway, Gracie Harris, Allie Powell, Kaylee Eifling, Destiny Brooks and JJ Rundel. Other winners, Jonathan Finley and Abby Myers are not pictured.

Guided by this year’s theme, “Triumph & Tragedy in History” the students were encouraged to choose a topic that matches their personal interests. They competed in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance and website. Projects at the regional event explored disease, national disasters, public figures, literal and figurative witch hunts, among other topics.

The top entries from each regional competition advance to the state contest, which will be held at the University of Central Arkansas April 13. The top two entries from every category at the state competition will be invited to the National Contest held June 2019 at the University of Maryland at College Park.

This year, there were 32 participants in the Region 4 contest. All participants were students of Star City teacher Kelley Todd.

“My Advanced Placement U.S. history kids have benefited greatly by participating in National History Day,” Todd said. “They have learned essential skills such as how to research, organization and collaboration. I look forward to future participation in NHD.”

Winners in each category and their winning projects were:

Group Website

First place: Grant Atwood and Andrew Venditti – “The Tragedy of the battle of Gettysburg”

Second place: Jonathan Finley and Connor White – “The Hindenburg”

Individual Website

First place: Rayvin Callaway – “Cowpox: how the Discovery Eradicated Smallpox”

Second place: Destiny Brooks – “The Unsolved Conspiracies vs. the Triumphant Facts”

Third place: Karsyn Baugh – “The Salem Witch Trials”

Group Documentary

First place: Gail Magana and Abby Myers – “All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association”

Group Exhibit

First place: Kaylee Eifling and Sadie Whaley – “The Donner Party: Tragedy in the Sierras”

Second place: Josie Floyd, Gracie Harris, Brianna Luer, Allice Powell, and Sydnee Ross – “Titanic: Then and Now – Tragedy Sparks Safety Regulations”

Third place: Jaliyah Brown and Alexia Lams – “‘There are no survivors.’” The Space Shuttle Tragedies


First place: John Elrod – “Enemies Within: How McCarthyism Revealed Our Tragic Flaws”

Second place: Alyssa Teague – “ The Carlisle Indian School: Kill the Indian, Save the Man”

Third place: Jason Rundel – “John Lennon: Activist”

Now in its 45th year, the National History Day Contest provides students an opportunity to develop critical thinking and source analysis skills while gaining historical perspective.

“History Day provides students with a wonderful experience in developing and completing projects and in teamwork,” said Dr. Richard Clubb, Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Science at UAM. “It also provides them with the opportunity to interact with college faculty. These positive interactions help to reinforce the students’ efforts.”

An independent study on the impact of the National History Day Contest found that students who participate outperform their counterparts in all aspects of academia, including standardized tests. Participants also expressed greater confidence with research, communication and analytical skills.