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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Nineteen students earn spot at National History Day competition

Nineteen+students+will+advance+to+the+National+History+Day+competition+after+presenting+their+projects+at+the+Illinois+National+History+Day+competition+on+April+24+in+Springfield.
Photo provided by Nathan Li
Nineteen students will advance to the National History Day competition after presenting their projects at the Illinois National History Day competition on April 24 in Springfield.

Nineteen students will advance to the National History Day competition after presenting their projects at the Illinois National History Day competition on April 24 in Springfield. Thirty U-High juniors advanced from the Chicago metro regional to compete in the state event, marking the fourteenth consecutive year that AT U.S. History students’ projects have reached the state finals.

This year, students wrote a research paper and then worked in 15 different teams to produce projects on a wide array of topics, including the origins of TV News; Earth Day, 1970; the Haitian Revolution; the genius of Motown; and the United States’ first two female governors.

Two students placed first in the individual categories: Ayush Mishra in the overall individual performance category and David Smith in the individual website section. Additionally, U-High students took first place in the group documentary, group website, and group Performance. 

Lisa Tao, a member of the group who won first place for a documentary on the life and writing of Ida B. Wells, said she has become more skilled in different editing techniques and telling a story visually through the project. 

“There’s only so many images that you can use that aren’t behind a paywall,” Lisa said. “It was a lot of work to find the pictures we wanted to use, but I definitely learned a lot.” 

Cynthia Jurisson, who guides these students as part of the AT United States History course she teaches, said she loves the communal spirit that comes with the competition, especially when the current seniors came up to her to ask about this year’s competition.  

“Every year, I cherish the experience working with students where I’m the coach — not the gatekeeper,” she said. “What the students thought was the best thing they could do isn’t even close to what you see at state. It’s deeply moving to see how much these students cared and how well they worked in a group.” 

National History Day qualifiers include:

  • Alexander Saratovsky, Andrew Ji and Mihir Epel, group documentary
  • Lisa Tao, Lydia Frost, Millicent Norton and Tejah Rana, group documentary
  • Ayush Mishra, individual performance
  • Helena Emerton and Lucie Bhatoey-Bertrand, group performance
  • David Smith, individual website
  • Alexander Maxcy, Asher Huner, Wendell He and Nathan Li, group website
  • Alternate: Edden Bartom, Jaya Alenghat, Maggie Bai and Maxine Hurst, group documentary

Regional award winners who also competed at the state competition but did not advance include:

  • Mia Lipson, also a state finalist for paper
  • Lucy Aronsohn
  • Ava Cohen
  • Max Gurinas
  • Allison Li
  • Benjamin O’Donnell
  • Anik Shetty
  • Amelia Tan
  • Raza Zaidi
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About the Contributor
Orlie Weitzman
Orlie Weitzman, Reporter
Orlie Weitzman is a member of the Class of 2027 and serves as reporter. She began the U-High Midway in the 2023-24 school year when she was a ninth grader. Orlie's second home is Hyde Park School of Dance, where she is a company dancer and a teacher trainee. Orlie also loves reading classics, YA novels and poetry.

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