Three Tarriers placed in the top three in their respective categories at the National History Day Washington state competition at Green River Community College on Saturday, April 29.
Cathy Wu ’20 took first place in the senior historical paper category; her paper is titled “Ho FengShan: The Chinese ‘Schindler’ Who Took A Stand Against the Nazis.” She will be next be vying against students from across the country in the national competition in Washington, D.C., in June. “I never thought that I would get into the national competition, but since I did, I will do my best,” Cathy says. “I am very much looking forward to meeting all the excellent people from different states and reading their NHD work. For me, this is not just a competition, but also a chance for me to explore new areas in the world of history.”
Erica Julian ’20 and Heidi Xu ’19 also represented CWA at the NHD state competition this year. Erica placed third in the senior historical paper category (“Larry Itliong: Taking A Stand for Filipino Workers”) and Heidi placed third in the senior individual website category (“1968: Salute,” focusing on the Mexico City Olympics protest).
All three Tarriers made it to the state level after great finishes at the regional competition in March. There are eight regional competitions in Washington state; Charles Wright competes in the South Puget Sound region. “The top three or four students from each region go on to compete at state,” says Middle and Upper School history teacher Susan Sparrow, who advises National History Day participants alongside fellow Upper School history teacher Tom Cramer. “Those who go on to nationals compete against students from all over the U.S. and abroad. A Tarrier has gone on to nationals for three years in a row!”
The theme for this year’s National History Day competition is “Taking A Stand In History.” Cathy says when she first considered a subject for her project, the first person who came to mind is renowned U.S. Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks. But she soon pivoted to highlight a person “who had done a magnanimous action but been forgotten by the world.” Cathy then learned of Ho FengShan, the Chinese consul-general in Vienna in 1938. She says that the more she read about him and his actions, the more she admired him. “He saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by issuing them visas to escape the Nazis in Europe and flee to Shanghai, my home city, but he just briefly mentioned this in a few sentences within his autobiography,” Cathy says. “This fueled my passion to learn more about his actions and to write about his story; I decided I would like to share his story with more people around me.”
Mission accomplished! Congratulations to Cathy, Erica, and Heidi on their National History Day accomplishments.