CCA Students Make History at Prominent History Day Competition

By: Alyssa Mendez
Discover the recent success CCA High School students had at their school, county, and state-level History Day competitions. Learn who advanced to the National stage, and watch the student performance that was selected to be featured in a Ford’s Theatre online exhibit!

“Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned…. Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?” – Job 8:8,10

In school, students study history to pay homage to the individuals who paved the way and to remember the events that shaped our world – gleaning learning lessons from them that can in turn shape their future.

Each year, CCA high school students have the opportunity to honor people, ideas, and events of the past by conducting research on a topic of their choice that aligns with the theme for that year and presenting it at a fair-like expo during the school day. The theme for the 2021-22 school year was Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences. Students can also choose which creative medium they’d like to use to present their findings (website, performance, documentary, etc.).

Those who are deemed winners at this event by CCA’s faculty evaluators go on to present their projects at Broward County History Day, and depending on their outcome, qualify to compete in the Florida History Day and National History Day competitions. Throughout this journey, they use the evaluators’ feedback to improve their projects as the competition becomes more rigorous.

According to the Florida Department of State, History Day gives students an outlet to not only expand their knowledge through research, but also one where they can express their creativity, learn to think critically, and develop their public speaking skills.

Shining Bright on Behalf of the Sunshine State

As CCA’s students studied history through this competition, it just so happened that they were making it as well. In May, CCA took its largest group to the state competition in Tallahassee – 14 high school students and 1 middle school student – to represent their school, county, and faith among 700 students from 24 Florida counties.

“I am so proud of each of these students for working so diligently to prepare for this competition and glorifying God through it,” said Sharon Low, Upper School History teacher.

Winning Place
Individual or Group
Student Name
3rd PlaceHistorical PaperSeniorIndividualUS Involvement in Guatemala: Good for the United States or Guatemala?Raquel De la Cruz Rodriguez
1st PlaceExhibitSeniorGroupAlienate to Appease: Executive Order 9066Jianna Bigio, Daniela Carrero Carrero, Melanie Torres
1st PlaceExhibitSeniorIndividualThe Tulsa Massacre: Triggered Debate Due to Lack of DiplomacyAzana Mack
1st PlaceWebsite SeniorIndividualFreedom over Fear: The Road to Expelling Hussein’s Grip over IraqNaia Montes
2nd PlaceWebsite SeniorGroupThe Nazi Olympics: To Boycott or NotAshli Douglas, Kemarah Thermidor
2nd PlaceDocumentary SeniorGroupTerror and Terms Rise: As Tears and Towers FallThomas Poulos, Daniel Cuesta, Andrea Ferrera, Nicolas Villacorta, and Nichole Bello
1st PlacePerformance SeniorGroupHonoring HenriettaZoe Tibbs, Soleil Escobar
Honorable MentionPerformance SeniorIndividualThe Fight Continues: The Long-standing Debate Over Women Enlistment in the MilitaryKelly Goenaga
2nd PlaceDocumentary MiddleIndividualComic Books Public Enemy No. 1: Jolting Tales of the Comic Book Debate of the 1940s and 1950sBrandon Fritz

At the Florida History Day competition, Calvary Christian Academy was the most winning school in Broward County and had the second highest number of wins out of all schools in the state that competed.

All the students who placed in at the state level (listed below) advanced to the national competition, which took place virtually over the summer. This was a record-setting number of CCA students to have won at the state level and move on to compete in the National History Day competition! Congratulations to these state winners:

    • Best in Broward County Project + 1st Place in Senior Group Performance:
      Soleil Escobar and Zoe Tibbs – Honoring Henrietta

    • 2nd Place in Senior Group Documentary:
      Thomas Poulos, Daniel Cuesta, Nicolas Villacorta, Nichole Bello and Andrea Ferrera – Terror and Terms Rise: As Tears and Towers Fall

    • 2nd Place in Junior Individual Documentary:
      Brandon Fritz – Comic Books Public Enemy No. 1: Jolting Tales of the Comic Book Debate of the 1940s and 1950s

“It was such a testimony when Soleil led the students in prayer at the end of the competition to praise and thank God for allowing them this opportunity to bring Him all glory and honor,” Mrs. Low added.

Honoring Henrietta Earns National Distinction

While no CCA students ranked in the national competition, Zoe and Soleil's performance Honoring Henrietta had the honor of being selected as one of nine projects nationwide to be featured in a Ford’s Theatre online exhibit, which ran from June 13-27, 2022.

In a press release, the National History Day organization noted that the projects that were selected “span the influence of President Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and legacy from the Civil War era to the Civil Rights Movement, with a focus on African American history and civic engagement.”

Henrietta Lacks was an African-American tobacco farmer who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 30. A physician who was treating Henrietta at Johns Hopkins Hospital harvested some of her cancerous cells, unbeknownst to her, for research purposes. This led to the discovery of HeLa cells – cells that are viable outside of the human body and capable of multiplication.

Henrietta passed away a year later, however, her legacy still makes waves in the scientific community today. HeLa cells ultimately made medical advancements, such as the development of the polio vaccine and in vitro fertilization, possible (Zielinski, 2010).

“I couldn't be more proud of Soleil and myself. It was amazing to have the opportunity to display such an unknown yet important topic to the nation,” said Zoe Tibbs (12th grade).

We hope that the recent successes of CCA’s young historians inspire you to take a deeper dive into the days that were. Learning is a never-ending process that anyone can engage in, regardless of age. We look forward to seeing the projects our high school students will put together for this school year’s theme: Frontiers in History.

If you live in South Florida and are interested in expanding your local history knowledge, free tickets are available for History Fort Lauderdale’s Smithsonian Museum Day on Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 P.M. This event will bring the stories of our diverse community to life through engaging educational experiences, innovative cultural exhibits, research, and preservation of artifacts. Click here for more information and to secure your tickets.

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