Mendehall Students

Students from William Mendenhall Middle School in Livermore and Thomas S. Hart Middle School in Pleasanton were recognized in California’s annual National History Day competition, which was held online this year because of the state’s shelter-in-place regulations.

Hart Middle School students Ashwin Sriram, Tejas Prakash, and Yashwanth Kandula received a Special Award from the National Maritime Historical Society for their website project, “Steamships and Ironclads.”

Mendenhall Middle School student Prisha Sheth was a runner-up in the Individual Performance junior division for “Albert Einstein: The Scientist Who Transcended Time.”

National History Day is a yearlong educational program that encourages students to explore local, state, national, and world history. Students research topics, analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, and create final projects ranging from posters for elementary school students to research papers, websites, exhibits, documentaries and performances for middle and high school students. Projects are judged by historians and educators.

This year’s theme was “Breaking Barriers in History.”

More than 1,500 students advanced to the state’s National History Day, held May 8-10, after first competing in school and county competitions. State winners in each category advance to the national competition in June.

Other local students to have advanced to the state competition were:

Junior Group Documentary – Caitlin Dainas and Riley Young, Hart Middle School, “Harriet Tubman: Conductor of Freedom.

Junior Group Exhibit – Megan Rivera and Payton Ray, Mendenhall Middle School, “A Woman Behind the War: Sarah Edmonds;” and Ishita Baghel, Ziyan Liu, and Parinitha Balaji, Hart Middle School, “The Women’s Suffrage Movement.”

Junior Group Performance – Megan Teczon, Grace Peterson, Katy Canaan, and Jasmine Branda, Mendenhall Middle School, “Women’s Suffrage.”

Junior Group Website – Claire Taulbee and Joely Wolf, Mendenhall Middle School, “Angel Island” and Jack Varagas, Tyler Parr, and Roman Phillips, Mendenhall Middle School, “The Transcontinental Railroad.”

Junior Individual Documentary – Claire Sahn, Mendenhall Middle School, “Helen Keller,” and William Hodges, Mendenhall Middle School, “The French & Indian War: Breaking into the Interior.”

Junior Individual Exhibit – Sophia McGinnis, Mendenhall Middle School, “Jacob Riis;” Ashley Haar, Hart Middle School, “A Door to Racial Equality;” Jordan Sheehan, Mendenhall Middle School, “Smallpox;” and Justin Grumm, Mendenhall Middle School, “Barbed Wire.”

Junior Individual Website – Allysa Eaton, Mendenhall Middle School, “Yellow Fever,” and Manasvita Venkatesh, Hart Middle School, “The World is Moving.”

Senior Group Documentary – Jocelyn Tao and Dayeon Jeong, Foothill High School, “Texas v. Johnson: Shattering the Indeterminate Boundaries of Freedom of Speech.”

Senior Individual Documentary – Arnav Gurha, Foothill High School, “Japan: The Land of the Rising Economy.”

To watch the California National History Day awards ceremony, go to