History Day Awards

The Society of Ohio Archivists wishes to recognize an Ohio History Day Project in the Junior and Senior Divisions for exceptional use of primary sources or manuscripts in the development of their Ohio History Day Project. Award winners receive a certificate and a $100 cash award per winner—individual or group (divided among group members) in both the Junior and Senior Divisions. This award was initiated in 1999. The Membership & Awards Committee manages all SOA awards.

Award Criteria

  • Project must demonstrate exceptional research and use of primary sources to include at least two of the following: letters, speeches, diaries, newspaper articles from the time, oral history interviews, documents, photographs, artifacts, or anything else that provides a first hand account about a person or event.
  • History Day Project winners must have used primary resources on site at a research institution housing those materials.
  • All primary sources must be cited accurately in the bibliography of the paper.

Award Winners

All of these award winners are to be commended for their extensive use of primary sources!


Junior Division Winners: Brady K. and Jensyn G., The Toledo War: A Border Dispute Turning Point

Senior Division Winners: Joshua C. and Joshua G., Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution: How One Man Sowed the Seeds of a Global Turning Point in Agriculture


Junior Division Winner: Sofia S. for the Junior Exhibit, Dorothy Fuldheim, Blazing a Trail for Women in Broadcasting

Senior Division Winner: Omar E. for the paper, The Northwest Ordinance: Forging a Frontier Republic and a Path to Freedom in the Ohio Country


Junior Award: Angela D’Souza, Birchwood School of Hawken, for her junior individual documentary, “The Cleveland Free-Net: How a Case Western Reserve University Experiment Opened a New World of Communication.” Angela worked with archivists at Case Western Reserve University to obtain primary source documents and resources about the Cleveland Free-Net that she used in her documentary. She also interviewed the widow of the creator of Free-Net, who gave her additional photos and primary sources she used.

Senior Award: Brendan Zbanek, Mary Basilion, Zara Braun, Shaker Heights High School, for their senior group performance, “Tinker v. Des Moines: The Student Led Fight For Free Speech.” Brendan, Mary, and Zara researched the Supreme Court case files, and read books from the 1960s to fully understand the time period. They also conducted an interview with Mary Beth Tinker, the plaintiff in the case, and incorporated her firsthand knowledge of the case into their performance.


Junior Award: Colleen Schweninger, Reena Ding, and Sofya Lukacheva, John Sells Middle School, for their junior group website, “The Wild West Wonder From Western Ohio: How Annie Oakley Shot Down Barriers.” Reena, Sofya, and Colleen visited the Garst Museum and found primary sources such as newspapers, letters, autobiographies, and diary entries. They also spoke with experts from the National Annie Oakley Center to learn more about Oakley’s early life.

Senior Award: Elena Johnson and Reynolds Huard, Athens High School, for their senior group documentary, “The Athens Asylum.” Elena and Reynolds obtained primary sources such as notes, journals, and photos from the Ohio University Special Collections and the Southeast Ohio History Center. They also visited the Athens Asylum itself and were able to photograph and film parts of the building usually closed to visitors.


Daniel Wise with Janet Carleton at the 2019 Ohio History Day competition at Ohio Wesleyan University. (© Tom Dunkes for James DeCamp Photograpy | http://JamesDeCamp.com | 614-367-6366)

Junior Award: Sylvie Tiro, Walnut Hills High School, for her junior individual website, “Fernald: A Complex Legacy.” (not present for photograph)

Senior Award: Daniel Wise, Shaker Heights High School, for his senior individual exhibit, “Triumph Shadowed by Tragedy: The Warner and Swasey Company.”




Leigh Morris with Janet Carleton at the Ohio History Day competition at Ohio Wesleyan University. (© James D. DeCamp | http://JamesDeCamp.com)

Junior Award: Leigh Morris, Pike-Delta-York Middle School. For her individual performance, Leigh Morris portrayed an ancestor five generations back who was respected on both sides as European Americans in the 1830s removed Native Americans from the Maumee Valley. She used resources in the Toledo Public Library’s Local History section, the Fulton County Historical Society, and Northwest State Community College—resources such as addresses, memorials, a personal journal and a memoir, and newspaper clippings and county histories—as well as interviewing a community historian researching the ancestor’s writings as she prepared for this performance.





Theodora Brown and Ava Yacovone with Jane Carleton at the Ohio History Day competition at Ohio Wesleyan University. (© James D. DeCamp | http://JamesDeCamp.com)




Senior Award: Theodora Brown and Ava Yacovone, Shaker Heights High School, for their group documentary, “Four Dead in Ohio: The Kent State Shooting.” Theodora and Ava used primary sources—photographs, news clippings, and media footage especially—from the Cleveland Public Library, the Kent State University Archives, oral interviews and online sites to develop their production on the tragic event during the Vietnam War.


Caden Sauerbrey, Tri-Valley Middle School

Caden Sauerbrey, Tri-Valley Middle School

Junior Award: Caden Sauerbrey, Tri-Valley Middle School, for his junior individual documentary, “Remember the Promises You Made in the Attic: The 1912 Dayton, Ohio Flood and the Formation of the Miami Conservancy District.”







Kirstin Burnette (PICTURED with Jillian Carney, SOA VP) South Gallia High School

Kirstin Burnette (pictured with Jillian Carney, SOA VP) South Gallia High School

Senior Award: Kirstin Burnette, South Gallia High School, for her senior individual exhibit, “‘It Seemed Like Reaching for the Moon’ Dorothy Davis v. Prince Edward County—Their Right to an Equal Integrated Education.”






Junior Award: Taylor Burnette and Chad Bostic, South Gallia Junior High School, for the group exhibit “It All Started on a Bus: One Woman Sat Down and the World Turned Around.” Burnette and Bostic visited numerous museums and archives and used primary resources such as newspapers, photographs, and interviews to highlight the role Rosa Parks played in the Civil Rights Movement in refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

Senior Award: Makayla Varisco, Emily Doane, Rebecca Willis, Christian Community School, for the group exhibit “Oberlin College: Opening the Doors to Equality.” This group extensively used primary resources from the Oberlin College Archives, including photographs, governing documents, and newspapers to demonstrate the significance and impact made by Oberlin College when it became the first institution of higher learning in the nation to offer a coeducational curriculum.


Junior Award: Kirstin Burnette & Jayla Wolford, South Gallia Junior High School. “If Not Us, Then Who? If Not Now, Then When? The Revolution, Reaction, and Reform of the 1961 Freedom Rides.”

Senior Award: Anna Katz & Emily Maury, Shaker Heights High School. “Salt in the Wound: Testing Allegiance to a Coercive Government.”


Junior Award: Dweeja Dasarthy, Birchwood School. “€œBrown vs. Board of Education: The Debate Over Separate But Equal.€”

Senior Award: Shelby Wenzlaff, Olentangy Orange High School. “€œThe Legacy of Alice Paul.”


On Saturday, April 24, 2010, over 600 students competed in the National History Day in Ohio competition at the Ohio Union building on the campus of The Ohio State University. This year we selected two winners for the Junior Division.

Junior Award: Stephen Cosco for €œ”The Making of the Movies: Opening Horizons and Transforming Entertainment.” Stephen’€™s individual documentary focused on the creation of the movies and the work of two Ohio inventors: Thomas Edison and C.F. Jenkins. For his research, he visited Greenfield Village, the Wayne County Historical Society in Richmond, Indiana, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and the Cincinnati Historical Society.

Amir Farhat, Birchwood School, for his individual paper “€œGarrett Augustus Morgan: An Inventor Whose Inventions Still Save Many Lives Today.” Amir’s paper discussed the inventions of African American inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan. For his research, Amir visited the Western Reserve Historical Society, where he viewed letters, patent documents, advertisements and newspaper articles.

Senior Award: Claire Lo of Shaker Heights High School for “The Devil’s Rope: Pioneering the West.” Claire’s exhibit illustrated barbed wire and its role in the settlement of the west. For her research, Claire used the National Archives’ patent collection and original artifacts from the Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean, Texas. She also used the Cleveland Public Library’s microfilm collection.

History Day


Junior Award: Theresa Rager and Quentin Ullrich, Mercy Montessori Center. “Dr. Albert B. Sabin’s Actions in Leaving a Legacy of Health.”

Senior Award: Jacob Miller, Jack O’Halloran, Nathaniel Henry, Leo Katz, Isaac Hoffman, Shaker Heights High School. “Tom Johnson: Progressive Reform for the Common Man.”


Junior Award: Julia McDaniel and Rachel Farrow, Genoa Middle School, Westerville, for their group project, “The American Legacy: Freedom, Opportunity and Self-Betrayal.” Julia and Rachel used the Toyo Suyemoto collection from The Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library for their project on Japanese internment camps. They read the diaries and letters in the collection and then contacted Ms. Suyemoto, a retired OSU librarian, and interviewed her for their project.

Senior Award: Anirudh Dasarathy, Birchwood School, Cleveland, for his individual documentary, “Korematsu v. United States: A Conflict Between National Security and the Rights of the Japanese Americans.” Anirudh used photographs from the Cleveland Public Library and the government documents from the National Archives and Records Administration for his documentary on the Korematsu case.


The Society of Ohio Archivists presented two awards at the 2007 National History Day in Ohio. Nearly 600 students participated in this year’s event, creating projects based on the theme “Triumph and Tragedy in History.”

Junior Award: Anirudh Dasarathay, Birchwood School, Cleveland.

Senior Award: Shay Crews, South Gallia High School, Crown City for “We Are Marshall: The Tragedy That Brought Together a University.”€


SOA presented two awards at the 2006 National History Day in Ohio. 630 students participated in this year’s event, creating projects based on the theme “Taking A Stand in History: People, Places, Ideas.”

Junior Award: Anirudh Dasarathay, Birchwood School, Cleveland “The Cuban Missile Crisis: Taking a Stand Against Cuban-Soviet Conspiracy.”

Senior Award: Ashley Clary, Allie West, Glenna Wright, South Gallia High School, Crown City “Freedom’s Wheels Are Rolling: The Freedom Riders Take a Stand.”


Senior Award: Hyunho Richard Lee, Shaker Heights High School, Shaker Heights for his individual documentary “Louis Armstrong: Civil Rights Pioneer.” Lee’€™s well-researched project utilized original recordings, newspaper clippings, and interviews with Louis Armstrong to form an analysis of the musician’€™s role in the Civil Rights movement in the U.S.

Junior Award: Hannah Stofan, Birchwood School, Lakewood, for her individual performance, “The Newsboys’ Strike of 1899: Communicating the Need For Change.” Stofan’€™s project used newspaper articles, documents, and photographs to construct her portrayal of one of the newsboys who went to the streets in 1899 demanding fair pay for selling newspapers on the streets of New York. Stofan went on to the National History Day competition, where she ranked 7th in the Junior Individual Performance category and was awarded Outstanding State Entry.


Junior Award: Courtney Wittekind, Mason Middle School, Mason, for her individual exhibit, “World War II in the Aleutian Islands: Encounters that Defined the Pacific Front.” For her exhibit on the Aleutian Island during World War II, Wittekind drew upon a number of contemporary primary source accounts–newspaper articles, magazine articles, government newsreels and books-along with more recently completed oral history memoirs and films to develop her project on the encounters between American and Japanese forces and the Aleut people, and the difficult environmental challenges of this “forgotten” wartime front.

Senior Award: Alex Phillips and Hannah Stofan, Birchwood School, Cleveland, for their group performance, “A Theater Grows in Cleveland: Exploring Racial Equality through the Dramatic Arts, Cultural Exchange at Karamu House.” Phillips and Stofan utilized contemporary books, lectures, letters, magazine and newspaper articles, pamphlets, photographs, recordings, and a thesis stretching from the 1930s to the 1980s, along with recent interviews and recordings to explore the history of an experimental theater situated in a settlement house that has provided an exchanged across cultural and racial lines and has had not only a local but also a national impact. The pair also became national finalists in this category at the state competition.


Junior Award: Sarah Little, Hannah Miller, Kelsey Rose, Birchwood School, Cleveland, for their group performance, “The Ohio Country – A Clash of Land Rights.” For their group performance on lands issues in the Ohio country from the 1760s to the 1790s Little, Miller and Rose used correspondence and letters, journals, speeches, treaties, state papers, and early Ohio newspapers to document and interpret the political, cultural and military clashes that involved the English, the breakaway United States, and indigenous nations over rights and responsibilities related to the land that the United States federal government eventually came to govern, settle and develop. The group was a national finalist in its category in the state competition.

Senior Award: Casey Wittekind, William Mason High School, Mason, for her individual paper, “Victoria Claflin Woodhull: The Responsibility of Candidacy Without the Right to Vote.” For her paper on Ohio native Victoria Woodhull who in 1872 became the first woman to run for President of the United States, Wittekind used numerous contemporary newspaper articles and letters, books, cartoons, congressional documents, even census records and deed records, along with interviews of present-day scholars and interpreters to document her work on this controversial figure in the movement for women’s rights. Wittekind, who also received the SOA award in 2002, was a national finalist in her category in the state competition.


Junior Award: Theresa Gillespie, Birchwood School, Cleveland, for her individual performance, “Cleveland Reacts to World War II.” Gillespie drew upon contemporary books, numerous newspaper clippings, personal interviews with four people who were living in Cleveland during the period, even period music and an interview with an archivist to develop her portrayal of the city’s course during the time under consideration. Gillespie also placed second in her category.

Senior Award: Casey Wittekind, Mason High School, Mason, for her individual paper, “Greenhills, Ohio: The Reality of New Deal Economic Reforms.” For her paper on the New Deal “greenbelt community” near Cincinnati, Wittekind drew upon Congressional documents, presidential papers, contemporary newspaper and national magazine articles, as well as contemporary photographs of Greenhills now available on American Memory web site to study and evaluate the significance of this experimental community. Wittekind also placed first in her category.


Junior Award: Imran Baig, Tim Chai, Mark Miller, Birchwood School, Cleveland, for their group performance, “The Vietnam War: Memories Made, Friends Lost, Lives Changed.” Baig, Chai and Miller used a large number of magazine and newspaper articles from the Vietnam war years, conducted personal interviews with 10 veterans, and collected survey research forms from eight other veterans of the war to gain an understanding of the personal frontiers servicemen and servicewomen encountered in that conflict.

Senior Award: Jay Carter, South Gallia High School, Crown City, for his individual exhibit, “The Court Goes Co-Ed: Sandra Day O’Connor the First Female Justice.” Carter read a large number of Justice O’Connor’s US Supreme Court opinions, used magazine articles from the early 1980s from the time when Justice O’Connor was appointed to the court and, above all, arranged for a 45-minute interview with Justice O’Connor in her office earlier in the year to gain perspectives on Justice O’Connor’s distinction as the pioneer woman justice on the court.


Junior Award: Lucille Frey, St. Peter School, Huron, for her individual exhibit, “Sputnik: A Turning Point in History.” Frey’s project focused on Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the earth, and was launched in October, 1957. She incorporated information from local and national newspapers, news magazines and scientific magazine sources from the 1950s along with United States and (translated) Russian government memoranda and documents from the same period, and conducted an interview with a person who worked with Wehner Von Braun in her exhibit.

Senior Award: Elyse Meena, Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights, for her individual performance, “The Fix that Turned Baseball.” Meena’s project focused on the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal. For this project, Meena used the archives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, the baseball collection at the Cleveland Public Library, and the photographic resources at the Western Reserve Historical Society to examine and cite books, news articles and letters from the early 20th century for information essential to her performance.


Junior Award: Elizabeth (Betsy) Carney, St. Gabriel School, Mentor, for her individual exhibit, “Science & Technology, A Deadly Combination: Donora Smog, 1948.” Carney, in her individual exhibit on the Donora Smog, utilized primary sources to learn about the events surrounding a deadly smog created by the local steel mills and zinc works in combination with foggy weather conditions in Donora, Pennsylvania, in 1948. Her exhibit outlined the events causing the disaster and how it affected Donora and the people living there. She also demonstrated how the Donora Disaster directly influenced the passage of Clean Air Legislation. She researched newspapers of the time and also located photographs in the local library and historical society. Probably the most valuable information was gained through oral history interviews with persons who lived through the disaster. Carney was able to learn what impact the deadly smog had on local residents’ health and lives, how it affected the town’s economy, and the greater impact it had on legislation for clean air nationwide.

Senior Award: Lindsay Kocab, Shaker Heights High School, Shaker Heights, for her individual project “Rosie the Riveter: Women at Work in World War II.” Kocab, in her research on women working in World War II, used a variety of primary sources to learn about her topic. She began her research at the Cleveland Public Library and in the Cleveland Press Archives at Cleveland State University, drawing on these institutions’ extensive photograph collections of World War II. She also gained information on advertisements and stories of women in WWII from magazines of the time period, such as National Geographic, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post. She contacted the Smithsonian for WWII posters. In addition to this extensive research, she conducted oral history interviews with members of her own family. Her grandmother and great aunt worked as tracers at the Electric Controller Company in Cleveland during the war. These interviews gave her direct insight into the experiences of women working in WWII. Using all of these primary sources, along with additional secondary sources, Kocab was able to present a clear picture of women working in WWII from a variety of perspectives.

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Emily Gainer