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This page is dedicated to recognizing the outstanding achievements of student historians throughout the History Fair season!

Advancing Projects and Contest Results

Congratulations to all students who competed at the 2021 NHD Virtual National Contest! You can find more about finalist and award-winning projects here. Scroll down for information about CMHF and IHD winners and awards.

NHD Finalists

These projects were selected as the top project in their preliminary judging room. Only ten projects from each category are selected as NHD Finalists!

Senior Group Documentary “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”: The Media’s Misrepresentation of the Black Panther Party by Brent Pennington, Sandra Mordi, and Kara Tao. University of Chicago Lab High School, Dr. Cynthia Jurisson.

Junior Group Exhibit The Subjacent Meanings of Jazz: A Means of Communication for Social Change by Alyssa Senese and Alvena Bhutiani. Mead Junior High, Ms. Julie Morrison.

Junior Individual Exhibit The Phoenix from the Ashes: How and Why the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Blazed a Trail in Workers’ Rights by Fiona Jin. Twin Groves Middle School, Ms. Jill Leone.

Junior Individual Exhibit A Polish Immigrant’s Read: Historic Polish Newspapers in Chicago by Sophia Borgula. Lane Tech Academic Center, Ms. Tina-Marie Turner.

Junior Individual Website “The Whole World Is Watching!” by Steven Jiang. Keller Regional Gifted Center, Ms. Kelly Walsh.

NHD Award Winners

NHD awards a number of student Special Awards each year. Only one project from each division (junior and senior) are selected for each prize.

Equality in History Award

Junior Individual Performance, STAND UP, FIGHT BACK: Larry Kramer, ACT UP and a Philosophy of Anger In Activism by Caspian Pirtle. The Catherine Cook School, Ms. Jessica Majors.

National Showcase Selections

The national museum listed below host online showcases for particular categories and topics. Congratulations to the projects selected for the showcases this year!

National Women’s History Museum Virtual Performance Showcase

Mary Ann Bickerdyke: The Messenger on The Battlefield by Joan Huh. Carbondale Community High School, Mr. Charles Buss.

National Museum of American History Virtual Exhibit Showcase

A Polish Immigrant’s Read: Historic Polish Newspapers in Chicago by Sophia Borgula. Lane Tech Academic Center, Ms. Tina-Marie Turner.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Virtual Documentary Showcase

“Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”: The Media’s Misrepresentation of the Black Panther Party by Brent Pennington, Sandra Mordi, and Kara Tao. University of Chicago Lab High School, Dr. Cynthia Jurisson.

Communication In History: The Key To Understanding The 1963 Chicago Public Schools Boycott by Gabrielle Domercant. Mayer Elementary School, Ms. Ditra Backup

Outstanding Entries

One Junior Division and one Senior Division project are selected as Outstanding Entries from each affiliate. Congratulations to Illinois’s Outstanding Entries!

Senior Group Website Fred Hampton by Eleonore Vuillemin, Grace Sawin, and Ishani Pidara. Lincoln Park High School, Ms. Sandra Koehler.

Junior Individual Exhibit The Phoenix from the Ashes: How and Why the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Blazed a Trail in Workers’ Rights by Fiona Jin. Twin Groves Middle School, Ms. Jill Leone.

Teacher of the Year – Illinois Nominees

Each year, Illinois nominates one junior division and one senior division teacher for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award. Congratulations to our Illinois nominees this year!

Senior Division Nominee: Jennie Crownson, Morton East High School, Cicero IL.

Junior Division Nominee: Kimberly Smolen, Lenart Regional Gifted Center, Chicago IL.

Projects advancing from Illinois History Day to the NHD National Contest
Team Illinois 2021: View the complete list of projects/students representing Illinois at the NHD National Contest here!

Complete Illinois History Day Results

The links above include State Finalists (which means a project was among the top projects in its category at IHD) as well as the NHD qualifiers. Remember, there are many outstanding projects at the State Contest, but only two projects per category can represent Team Illinois at NHD. Congratulations to all students who competed at the state contest this year!

Projects advancing from CMHF to Illinois History Day

Junior Division projects advancing to IHD State Contest

Senior Division projects advancing to IHD State Contest

Projects Selected for CMHF Senior Finals

Senior Division (high school) projects that have been selected to advance to the Chicago Metro History Fair Senior Finals can be found below. They are sorted in first-name order. Congratulations to all of our participating students!

Special Awards

Click here to view the 2021 Chicago Metro History Fair Special Awards winners’ list, including Special Awards for senior finalists and the History Fair in Action awards for all grade levels. Thank you to all of our nominees this year.

Students of the Week

For the 2021 season, CMHF recognized students who have shown their resilience, hard work, research skills, and enthusiasm throughout this History Fair season! We are proud of you, students! Student of the Week has now concluded for the 2021 season – check back next year for more amazing students!

March 18 Students of the Week

Jorie Binion, Lenart RGC

Jorie has gone above and beyond with her History Fair project this year! Jorie wanted research an African American who made a contribution to our country as it pertains to communication, and she wanted combine her interests and love for fashion, entertainment, and pop culture magazines. Once she saw Ebony and JET magazines featuring famous African Americans, her decision to research Johnson Publishing Company was confirmed. Jorie conducted an interview with Kyra Kyles, the former Editor-in-Chief & Senior Vice President for Ebony and the Senior Editor for Jet. We can’t wait to see your documentary – congratulations, Jorie!

a student sits facing a laptop conducting an interview via zoom
a student working on a laptop with a cat perched nearbyZadie Rocke, Lenart RGC

Zadie’s interest in the missteps of the government led her to focus on the Red Scare because of all the shady things the United States government had done in the 1920s. When she discovered the Palmer Raids, she was fascinated by the many reasons this could have happened and wanted to understand Palmer’s motives. Zadie found political comics from that time that depict Palmer as America’s savior from the horrors of unions, immigrants, and communism as well as Palmer’s speeches that were created to incite fear into the American people. We salute your independence and determination, Zadie! Keep making history!

March 11 Students of the Week

Teddy Bernard, Morgan Park Academy

Teddy has combined his passion for filmmaking with his interest in crime stories to uncover the hidden history in his own backyard! His research into how organized crime affected the people in his neighborhood during Prohibition has led him to some amazing sources. From the local grocery store on the site of a former speakeasy to the house down the street with secret rooms used as distilleries, Teddy has embraced the role of historian to communicate these hidden stories of life in his neighborhood 100 years ago. We can’t wait to learn more about this chapter of Chicago’s history from Teddy’s documentary!

Congratulations to Teddy on his hard work and dedication this year! Keep on Making History!

a student looking through the viewfinder of a video camera

March 4 Students of the Week

Morgan Tillis, Lenart RGC

As a 6th grader and first time History Fair participant, Morgan has gone above and beyond the requirements for her History Fair Research Paper. Morgan initiated the outreach and conducted an interview with Mrs. Dyanna Lewis, Vice President of the Chicago Defender.
Along with her interviews, Morgan found this book: “The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America: from the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama,” which helped her to understand the impact of the Chicago Defender. Keep making history Morgan!

a student conducting a remote interview on their laptop screen

February 25 Students of the Week

Evelyn Blankenship, Taft Academic Center

Evelyn is a hardworking student who always gives her best in every assignment. She has found some great History Fair sources including quotes, images, and documents. Evelyn chose to make an exhibit about the Boston Tea Party, she feels connected to it because she is fascinated with British history. Keep making history, Evelyn!

a photo of a student in an armchair working on a laptop

February 18 Students of the Week

a photo of a student working at a laptop with open reference books nearbyMarwa Abdullah, Northtown Academy

Even while juggling the demands of remote learning and AP classes, Marwa has created a fascinating History Fair project while sharing her excitement about her topic with others. Marwa says that she chose her topic, the impact of carrier pigeons’ on US success in WWI, in memory of her family’s pet birds.

Marwa’s topic is a great example of finding connections to history all around us! We can’t wait to read more about how she arrived at her powerful conclusion: “While some service animals could sniff out bombs, others toxic solutions, and some used for transportation, America’s victory during WW1 resulted from one shared goal between humans and birds: to go home.” Congratulations, Marwa!

Marisol Saucedo, J Sterling Morton East High School

Marisol’s English/American History class has been working on the theme “Protests Throughout History.” Marisol chose to focus on the Delano Grape Strike and how the leaders used protest to successfully communicated their ideas to create more equitable and fairer work environment for migrant farm workers in the Central Valley of California.

Marisol has been working on her project since November and she has collected an impressive number of primary and secondary sources. She has already written her essay for English and is now taking her information to create a website for her History Fair Project. We can’t wait to see her website — great work, Marisol!

a photo of a student working intently at a laptop

February 11 Students of the Week

two students working at their laptops across a table from one anotherAlice Moriarty and Jack Melie, Lakeview Junior High

This group has nominated each other. They both admire the hard work and effort they have put into their projects and are clearly working well as a group.
They are working on a project about the Navajo Code Talkers while finding primary sources has been challenging, they are both very excited about an interview they found. We are excited to see their final project! Keep making history Jack and Alice!

February 4 Students of the Week

a photo taken over the shoulder of a student showing them working on their exhibitAmira Holandi, Independent Scholar

Amira has put an impressive amount of time and effort into their History Fair project this year! While researching communication during McCarthyism, Amira has found a wealth of great historical sources, like digitized newspapers from the era. Amira is thoroughly enjoying operating the hot glue gun to assemble their exhibit! We can’t wait to see how everything turns out – congrats, Amira!

Alyssa Mcginley, Juliana Kerr, Olivia Parker, Aili Flannery, Lakeview Junior High

Aili, Olivia, Julianna, and Alyssa have collaborated while working remotely and in different class periods. They’ve been a model of communication and teamwork as they’ve dug up sources from the local public library, newspaper archives, and found interviews online. Congratulations to this group on their great example of working together to overcome obstacles together!

a collage of photos of students working on their laptops

January 28 Students of the Week

Nadia Williams, Lenart RGC

Nadia has demonstrated perseverance and tenacity in searching for primary sources that illustrate the hardships faced by African Americans in the early 20th century seeking to become doctors. With sources like a 1949 newspaper article on the opening of a Black medical school in Houston, Nadia has dived deeply into the history of African Americans and their entrance into medical schools in the United States. Congratulations, Nadia!

a photo of a smiling student sitting at her laptop
a photo of two students smiling at the cameraVallierie and Aaron Williams, Independent Scholars

The ‘twin historians’ are looking at the work and literary communications of Vivian Harsh, Chicago’s First Black Librarian. They’ve partnered with local historical communities such as Bronzeville to locate artifacts including telegrams, notes and a very old set of eye glasses – so far! Congrats to Vallierie and Aaron on their undying dive into finding out more about major contributors on Chicago communications!

Sofiya Blazhko, Maine West High School

Sofi’s research for her History Fair project on the League of Women Voters is extensive. In addition to locating plenty of images and documents, she is in the process of interviewing local League of Women Voter groups in both Park Ridge and Deerfield. Her research extends beyond the book and internet and into modern day effects of the organization on a local, state, and national level. We can’t wait to learn from her project – congrats to Sofi!

a portrait of a student wearing a nasa tshirt

January 21 Students of the Week

Stephen Thomas

School: Bogan High School

Steve’s dedication towards keeping the contributions of influential African Americans in Chicago History has been his passion since 7th grade. He’s seen the struggles stemming from reconstruction until now with African Americans solidify his quest in keeping history alive! This year’s theme has enabled him to take a deeper dive into the history of Chicago and connect it on a global level.

a portrait of Stephen Thomas holding a copy of The Reporter with his own photo on the cover
Charley Hayes, Ava Pecoraro, and Juliana Padavic

School: Lakeview Junior High

This group’s interest in environmental activism has led them to study Erin Brockovich and her impact on public awareness about environmental issues. Despite being remote, they’ve joined together for movie nights and have raised the bar for the classmates, being enthusiastic in their pursuit of resources.

Emily H and Ava D

School: Lakeview Junior High

Even though Emily and Ava are in different classes, they manage to communicate daily and collect valuable sources across the web as part of their research into the tragic fire at Our Lady of Angels. Their best source is an interview with a survivor of this awful but important event!

a portrait of lakeview group 2
a blank silhouette of a portraitAmelia V and Aubrey C

School: Lakeview Junior High

Amelia and Aubrey are studying Women’s Swimming, which was an early venue for women to champion equality. Both students are competitive swimmers and have successfully tied their passion for the pool into a meaningful topic with a significant impact for women across sport.

January 14 Students of the Week

Name: Hana Kim

School: Lenart RGC

Hana has dived right into her topic, Our Lady of the Angels School fire, to research how the disaster was communicated around the world and the impact on fire safety laws. Working both on her own and together with the research librarians at Northeastern Illinois University, Hana is showing that smart research is the key to understanding your topic this year! Congratulations to Hana for Making History this year!

a portrait of Hana Kim
a portrait of Sophia FredericksName: Sophia Fredericks

School: St. Giles School

If anyone ever says that history is boring, Sophia might have a movie recommendation for them! Among other sources, she has viewed and analyzed roughly ten different zombie films for her project which makes connections to the social events that were occurring at the time of each film’s production, from Haitian Vodou to the Civil Rights Movement. Congratulations to Sophia on her dedication!

Name: Charlie Archambault

School: St. Giles School

Charlie has demonstrated his genuine passion for learning history has been evident throughout the process of History Fair. His meticulous research into the antiwar protests of the 1960s has led him to some great sources including publications from the Smithsonian, Yale University, etc. Most notably, Charlie analyzed the official transcript for the Trial of the Chicago Seven. Congrats to Charlie for his excellent work ethic and willingness to tackle complex source material!

a portrait of Charlie Archambault
a blank silhouette of a portraitWho will be the next Student of the Week?

Click here to nominate yourself or someone else as CMHF Student of the week! Winners receive a digital gift card and are featured here on the CMHF website!

All students have granted permission to use their names and photographs on our site. Are you a student or parent who would like to correct your information on this site or request to be removed? Contact us and we will respond to your request as quickly as possible!

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