Laurelhurst School's Anja Jolin and a three-person team from ACCESS Academy are the Portland-based winners of the National History Day competition in Maryland.

COURTESY: OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Fifty-two students from Oregon participated in the National History Day competition in Maryland in June. Fifteen were recognized. The Oregon Historical Society announced Thursday that 15 Oregon students and their teachers won accolades at a national history competition in Maryland last month.

Of those, Anja Jolin of Laurelhurst School in Portland won the Outstanding Junior Division Affiliate Award and eighth place in the final round of competition for her paper titled "Confrontation and Negotiation: South Africa's Transition to Democracy." Jolin was guided by teacher Lindsay Gebbie.

COURTESY: OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Anja Jolin of Laurelhurst School won eighth place for her essay on South African democracy. The National History Day competition also recognized her as outstanding in her division. The National History Day competition, held annually in College Park, Maryland, attracts half a million participants at the local level with a select few invited to attend nationals. This year's theme was "Conflict and Compromise."

Rachel Randles, a spokesperson for the historical society, said this was the first year in recent memory that Oregon students had placed at the competition.

"This is a big placing for us," Randles said.

Randles said the competition provides students opportunities to get hands-on with historical documents and research outside the classroom.

Also from Portland, Leo Marchyok, Milo Lubin, and Thomas Pallister of ACCESS Academy placed second in the first round of the national competition. The team just missed the final round by one place, for their Junior Group Exhibit, Spain Divided: Conflict and Compromise in the Spanish Civil War. The team was led by Portland Public Schools teacher Heather Kelly.

The Oregon students qualified through a May 5 contest at Concordia University in Northeast Portland, organized by the Oregon Historical Society.

The society offers resources to students and teachers across the state, such as the OHS Research Library, the Oregon History Project and the Oregon Encyclopedia, to complete their self-directed projects. For National History Day projects, students in grades 6-12 decide what aspect of history they are most interested in and how they want to explore it — from theatrical presentations to poster board diagrams.

A total of 52 Oregon students attended the national competition June 10-14. The 15 whose projects were recognized were:

• Alan Zhou and Kyler Wang of Stoller Middle School in Beaverton who placed fourth in the nation for their junior group website on The Pig War of 1859.

• Marchyok, Lubin and Pallister of ACCESS Academy in Portland, who placed second in the first round of competition.

• Colton Reynolds and Drew Nelson of Helix High School in Umatilla County placed third in the first round.

• Hailey Cheon, Janice Lee, Jayden Gwo, Jenny Ni and Rajvir Singh of Stoller Middle School in Beaverton placed third in the first round for their website on ping pong diplomacy.

• Geoffrey Gu of Sunset High School in Beaverton placed third for his senior individual exhibit.

• Jolin, who placed eighth and won a special award for her division.

• and Gu, who also won a special award for his division.

A full list of 2018 Oregon History Day participants can be found at

Shasta Kearns Moore
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