The rise of a freshman champion


Photo courtesy of Naomi Hampton

Freshman Naomi Hampton posed with a medal from the competition.

Freshman Naomi Hampton placed first in the National History Day (NHD) competition at Orange County Education Department in Costa Mesa for her performance as a woman acting as a spy in a war-torn Britain during the heart of WWII.
National History Day is a history competition held annually in the United States consisting of of the three divisions of Elementary (grades 1-5), Junior (grades 6-8), and Senior (high school). Hampton competed in the competitive high school Senior division. Competitors start at regional and have the potential move onto state and, eventually, nationals. She is moving on to state finals after her achievement in the Orange County competition.
During the NHD competition, students are given a theme and then instructed to pick a topic that aligns with it. The topics can be represented in a variety of mediums such as documentaries, exhibits, performances or websites. Students can work individually or in groups to brainstorm topics and projects. Following topic selection, advisors meet with students and work to prepare them for the Orange County competition via meeting arrangements and class time advising. Although, according to the campus adviser and history teacher Spencer Schwerdtfeger, the success and outcome of the projects really come down to the students.
“It is really student driven, they do most of the preparation themselves,” said Schwerdtfeger.
Students undertake this by spending after school hours and times on the weekend to perfect their performances and projects. Students really do reap the reward of all the hard work they put forth as they receive the benefits of the experience.
“NHD is a great and humbling experience for students because it develops one’s analytical skills through interesting research. In addition, through NHD, one learns how to compartmentalize their time as well as pursue a topic that they are actually interested in” Kenny Chung vice president of the club junior OC National History Day Star.
Part of that learning comes from the experience of competing, just as challenging and rewarding.
“I want to go to nationals and I am going to work hard to get there,” Hampton said.

Naomi Hampton’s performance was evaluated as outstanding by the judges of the OC competition. She put on a performance about a british female spy in World War 2, inspired by a television show that tells a similar narrative.

Her passion for the NHD competition began when her history teacher in 7th grade introduced her to the nation wide history contest. An avid lover of history and performance, it was the perfect combination for her. Her passion has not slowed down since.

Her friends and family share in this passion and excitement and are looking forward to her continued progress. She will be one of the youngest candidates to compete for first place at nationals if she places in the state competition.