Kern Students Earn Gold at National History Day
Congratulations to five students from Bakersfield's Fruitvale Jr. High School — Marissa Manos, Ramneet Sahota, Bianca Hinojosa, Calvin Laverty and Sameen Bramer — who finished first in the junior division group performance category at National History Day at the University of Maryland. Their entry, "Sylvia Mendez: The Legacy of a Young Girl's Fight for Equality in Education," was judged the best out of 14 finalists from 12 states. Kern County also had another finalist, Centennial High School's Sarah Moore, whose senior division individual documentary, "Silently Leaving a Legacy: The Actions of Chiune Sugihara," was judged third best in the nation.
"Once they said Bakersfield had won, I screamed so loudly I didn't even hear all our names being called," said Sahota. "I thought we had done a good performance, and lots of people who saw it assured us we would be in the top three. But this is nationals, we just didn't expect it."
The Fruitvale team's performance was based on a child of Mexican descent who was denied admission to a school near her Orange County home because of segregation. The family took the case to court, and their 1947 victory helped desegregate public schools in California.
Kern County was also represented at National History Day by another Fruitvale Jr. High group performance team that included Aaliyah Beed, Dylan Gonzales, Richard Sotille, Gabriela Forter and Madison Olinger. Their entry was "Elie Wiesel: A Survivor's Legacy, A Messenger for Mankind." Fruitvale Jr. High's Anne Bardet represented the county at nationals with her junior division individual exhibit, "Mother Teresa: A Light in the Darkness."