Sierra Wentz heads to history competition

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Sierra Wentz, a student at Vista del Lago High School, became the Senior Individual Paper Champion at the California State Finals for National History Day. Wentz has been involved with the Folsom Cordova Unified School District History Day program for four years. Three of those years she has placed as a finalist at the county level of competition. Now that Wentz has become a State Champ, she will advance to the National Finals. According to the National History Day-California organization, the competition is a year-long educational program, which encourages students to explore local, state, national, and world history. After selecting a historical topic that relates to an annual theme, students conduct extensive research by using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topic’s significance in history, and create final projects that present their work. These projects can be entered into a series of competitions where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. Melissa Lawson, Sierra’s former sixth-grade teacher, could hardly contain her excitement. “Sierra’s paper, ‘Temples in the Heart of Man: The Debate over the Highest Use of Hetch Hetchy Valley and the Legislation Involved,’ represents the culmination of four years of authentic learning,” said Lawson. “As her sixth-grade teacher and History Day adviser throughout middle school, it was very exciting to see her growth as a writer and historian over time. I am very proud of her for sticking with it and always giving her very best.” Wentz competed against more than 1,000 students spanning 26 counties in California. Accompanying her at the State Finals, FCUSD produced three other finalists. Tatymn Snider from Cordova High School, Aishwarya Nadgauda and Weirui Xiao, both from Folsom Middle School, all became finalists in the Elite Eight segment of the statewide competition. The Elite Eight are students who have been selected as the best eight finalists in their sections of the competition. Although, these students didn’t advance to the National competition, their achievement and efforts are nothing short of spectacular. “These exceptional students represent the very best of our district. They are examples of the superior educational environment and experiences that our students enjoy. We are confident that Sierra will continue to make us proud and we wish her the best of luck at Nationals this June,” said Stephen Nichols, district public information officer. ~ Staff report