Six Tennessee students, including Watertown High School Class of 2016 Salutatorian Deanna Upchurch, finished among the top 10 in their respective categories at National History Day in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
In all, 58 middle and high school students represented Tennessee in the competition, in which students prepare documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances and websites with historical themes. The overall theme of this year's contest was "Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History." Students earned the right to compete at National History Day by winning medals at the state contest, Tennessee History Day, which is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society and co-sponsored by the Tennessee Secretary of State's office and Humanities Tennessee.
Upchurch, the daughter of Amy and Mike Upchurch and a National Merit Scholarship finalist, claimed 10th place in the Senior Individual Documentary category for her entry, "Directing a War: Hollywood's Encounter with World War II." Watertown High School teacher Barbara Marks accompanied Upchurch as part of the delegation.
During National History Day, students had the opportunity to meet with Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker and attend a private reception at the National Museum of American History.
"I'm proud of our students for representing Tennessee so well," Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "Research has shown that students who participate in History Day tend to do better in their academic lives and their careers than peers who don't participate in the program. I'm sure we can expect big things from these students in the future."
Upchurch plans to attend George Washington University to study international affairs with an emphasis on Middle Eastern security. First, she plans to spend a year in Morocco studying Arabic on a U.S. State Department Scholarship from the National Security Language Institute of Youth. She will be in the capital of Rabat, where she spent several weeks last summer.