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Hillcrest Trio Sets Sights on National History Day Honors

  • Post category:General News
  • Post last modified:January 8, 2015

After three years of scoring at the National History Day competition, three Hillcrest High seniors are again working together with the hopes of participating in their fourth and final National History Day contest. Harry Han, Nick Cockrell, and David Skorut took fifth place at the 2014 National History Day competition in the documentary category – the contest’s most competitive bracket – and they hope to do the same, or better, this year.

“For me, it’s less about the award and more about telling the story,” Skorut said recently, as he reflected on the team’s accomplishment at the 2014 History Day competition. “Through all of my projects I feel there is a message that has to be heard.”

Skorut, Cockrell, and Han took fifth place with their documentary, “Huelga! Delano’s Cry for Equality,” which tells the story of migrant workers in the 1960s and 1970s. Their film also won a special Latino-American History award for its subject matter.

To keep the competition guessing, the trio won’t say much about the history project on which they’re currently working.  But the contest’s theme for 2014-2015 is “Rights and Responsibilities in History.” They will first submit their project at a local competition in the spring. Then, the project must be chosen to continue on to a statewide competition. At that point, winners of the statewide contest are invited to participate in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park in June.

All three of the seniors have an interest in history, political science and – for Skorut – film. Participating in the National History Day contest has helped them understand the ways past events have shaped our world today and better analyze history, Cockrell said.

“I just think that from learning all the things about historical events and what motivated people to change things, I would like to be a part of that process so there doesn’t have to be this violent uprising,” said Cockrell, who is interested in studying political science in college. “Looking at all of these stories, it can be daunting to make these big social changes.”

Cockrell and his teammates believe that all students should participate in the National History Day contest, but they give credit to one group of people for helping them become involved in the first place: their teachers.

“The teachers who brought us into this in the eighth-grade were a huge help – they motivated us for later years,” Han said. “Without their push we would have never gotten involved.”