Alta Sierra students win second-place in National History Day contest

Jillian Leslie, Paige Metzler and Adrian Paderna were awarded second place at the National History Day contest June 14-20. (Photo courtesy Clovis Unified School District Facebook)

Three students from Alta Sierra Intermediate school were awarded second-place in the National History Day contest, held virtually June 14-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jillian Leslie, Paige Metzler and Adrian Paderna competed with over 500,000 students globally in the contest, which was themed “Breaking Barriers in History”.

The students completed projects in five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

Leslie, Metzler and Paderna created a historical performance project titled “Freewheeling for Feminism: Breaking Barriers on the Bicycle”. The girls’ thesis for the project in part reads, “this began to change in the 1880s when women gained a new sense of freedom after the ‘safety’ bicycle was introduced,” it said, according to a post on the CUSD Facebook page.

“The new mode of transportation fostered greater independence as women had more control over where they went and when. The eventual acceptance of women in the public sphere, caused by the bicycle, helped women break clothing, gender, and suffrage barriers that continue to influence today’s modern feminist movement.”

After completing a project, students compete in a series of contests beginning at the local level, according to a news release from National History Day. The top students from all 50 states, Washington D.C, U.S. territories and international schools are invited to compete.

“To make it to the National Contest in a normal year is a remarkable achievement,” National History Day executive director Dr. Cathy Gorn said. “ “Given the added challenges facing students because of the coronavirus and nationwide school closures, I am even more impressed by what they have done this year. They have shown an incredible level of perseverance amid adversity, and I am confident we will continue to see great things from all of these students.”

More than 300 historians and education professionals served as judges for the students’ work, and all of the aspects of the contest, including judging, were conducted remotely online. Over 100 students were awarded cash prizes between $500 to $2,000 each for their superior work in the judging categories.

Michael Ford
Michael graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism. During his time at the university, he served as sports and managing editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper. In addition to the Clovis Roundup, Michael has written for The Fresno Bee, the Kingsburg Recorder and Selma Enterprise. He has a passion for sports and can be found on the sidelines at local games, bringing the citizens of Clovis the athletics news they deserve.