GREENFIELD — Vista Verde Middle School students participated in Monterey County History Day for the fourth time, and three groups walked away with awards and were invited to attend the state competition.
All the eighth-grade students at Vista Verde completed a history project with the theme “Triumph and Tragedy” after working on the project since September.
“One of the great things about doing History Day is that the students have choice,” said Social Studies teacher Matt Garcia. “Choice is so important to them because they get to do research on a topic that’s of interest to them.”
The three Social Studies teachers started the project with their students by brainstorming. Students were interested in various subjects, such as sports, war and art. From there, the topics were narrowed down even more and covered a variety of topics at Monterey County History Day.
The students and groups invited to History Day had five options to finish their project, including an exhibit, a performance, create a website, make a documentary or write a paper. According to Garcia, most of the students chose the exhibit, with one group opting to perform.
Joslyna Guijarrio, Natalia De Jesus and Maria Pacheco worked on a project about Cesar Chavez. The group chose Chavez because of the surrounding agricultural land and due to the community members who work in the fields.
“My grandfather was a farmworker during that time and has his tool he used and the flag he used for the marches,” Gujarrio said. “He met Cesar Chavez face-to-face.”
Victor Contreras-Garcia and his group were the first Vista Verde group to chose a performance-based project and selected Virginia Woolf.
“People don’t shine a lot of light on females as much as they do males,” Contreras-Garcia said. “We used a lot of real events in her history, like her father’s death, her trying to kill herself from depression and her other family member’s deaths for our performance.”
Contreras-Garcia said he was nervous for the performance because there were three judges and this was his first time performing in a play. He said he would do another play because he liked it.
Daniella Zavala, Anna Santiago and Tonya Rojas chose the Seneca Falls Convention and focused on Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
“We wanted a topic about women’s rights and shed light on that topic,” Zavala said.
“We wanted it to be more talked about in today’s generation,” added Santiago.
All three groups will move on to compete at the state competition at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif., on May 9-12.