JOPLIN, Mo. —
Anum Ahmed, who was an eighth-grader at South Middle School last year, has won the gold medal junior division in individual website at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition at the University of Maryland-College Park.
As a first-place winner, she will be recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities with a college scholarship and will receive a cash award. More than 2,800 students competed at the national competition, the theme of which this year was “Revolution, Reaction, Reform.”
Ahmed’s website, “A Revolution by Ruhollah Khomeini: The Voice That Changed Iran,” focused on how Iran changed before and after the 1979 revolution, led by Khomeini, that saw the overthrow of the Shah of Iran.
“I had a lot of fun researching it,” Ahmed said. “My favorite part was probably when I finished it and got to see how it turned out. I’m really proud of my end product.”
Ahmed said she was very excited to win and didn’t believe it at first. Earlier this year, she won the regional competition at Missouri Southern State University. She then went on to Columbia, where she received third place and was therefore an alternate for nationals. When the first-place winner from state dropped out of the competition, she was able to compete at nationals, but only had a week to complete the project.
“The judges said that they really liked the design of my project and thought the topic I researched was difficult because it was international,” she said.
Her teacher, Ivan Obert, will receive a year’s complimentary membership in the Organization of American Historians.
“I really couldn’t have done it without my family or teacher,” Ahmed said. “They really helped me stay sane during this whole process.”
Ahmed competed in History Day last year and won at regionals, but did not place at state with her paper about the court case Brown v. The Board of Education. She said she hopes to participate in History Day in high school and may pursue a future career in medicine.