Middle and high school students present 105 projects at National History Day Competition


By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

VISALIA – Close to 200 students filled the hallways of the Tulare County Office of Education Administration Building on Friday, Feb. 15, to participate in this year’s National History Day Competition. Students like Dinuba High School’s Caleb Carrillo, and Andriana Saenz of Mt. Whitney presented their projects on triumph and tragedy in history.

Carrillo, a sophomore, did his presentation on the OK Corral. His inspiration was in one part a personal fascination with the events which took place there, and in memory of his grandfather, Terry Simons. It was Carrillo’s grandfather who first taught him about the events of that time.

“It was a great honor to do this project in memory of him,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo has visited the OK Corral four times since first making the trip at age 6, and each time Carrillo makes a visit, he is in awe.

“To be standing on the ground where history was made is completely mind blowing,” Carrillos said. “You see it in history books, but actually being there is a totally different experience.”

Those bigger-than-life tales of the past has kept Carrillo interested in the wild west all his life­—and none more thrilling than Doc Holliday’s transformation from a dentist to one of the best gunslingers in history.

Carrillo is also interested in the World Wars, and believes that history is a very important subject to not only learn in schools but throughout life.

“History does repeat itself, but maybe we can learn and not make the same mistakes again,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo was recognized as a senior individual exhibit finalist for his presentation and is able to advance to the state competition in May.

Saenz, a senior, took her presentation across the Atlantic and talked about the life of Marie Antoinette. She was first inspired by the events of the former queen of France and her husband King Louis XVI in the days before the French Revolution during an A.P. European history class.

“This event really embodies the theme of triumph and tragedy,” Saenz said.

Saenz argued that what ultimately happened to the queen and king was a tragedy, and the lives of the French people during their reign was a tragedy. However, she pointed out that the lives of Marie and Louis were a victory before their demise.

At the end of the day, 37 presentations where selected to present at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif., for the state competition. There were six other scholarships provided to help cover traveling costs for the students.

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