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CENTREVILLE, MD – Centreville Middle School eighth grade student Savannah Buffum will represent Maryland in the History Day National Contest, June 14-20, 2020, hosted by the University of Maryland. Buffum earned one of two spots in the Individual Documentaries division finals with her Individual Documentary on the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). Her work was among 18 projects selected to advance in the Junior Division (Grades 6 - 8) on May 2 during the Maryland State History Day Contest. 


"Queen Anne's County students continue to perform among the best in our state and nation. I am so proud of Savannah and her teachers at Centreville Middle School," said Dr. Andrea M. Kane, Superintendent of Queen Anne's County Public Schools (QACPS).


Savannah began her journey to the National Contest by earning a first-place finish at the school contest and winning her division at the Upper Shore Regional History Day on March 7 at Washington College. At the Upper Shore Regional History Day event, Buffum took home the “Best In Region” trophy as the best Individual Documentary from Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, or Talbot Counties.


The Centreville Middle School contest coordinator and Buffum's seventh-grade history teacher, Andrew Anders, was not surprised. 


"She is one of the hardest working and self-motivated students I've ever had. She is always focused on her goals," Anders said. "Savannah has a lot of extracurricular activities and still manages to devote the time and effort needed to create remarkable projects like these. With her gymnastics background, she is used to taking feedback and putting it to use to improve herself and her work. She approaches her work with the same competitive attitude."  


The Upper Shore Regional History Day Co-Coordinator, Thomas Hayman, added: "It has been amazing to see the growth Savannah has made over the past few years. Her determination and attention to detail have resulted in documentaries that could appear on the History Channel. Savannah has always been open to judges' feedback and has really submersed herself in her projects each year. We are excited to have her as Upper Shore Regional History Day's first contestant to make the national contest. I know she will do great things this year and in the future."


History Day is an academic enrichment program for students in grades 6-12. Students selected topics connected to an annual theme and complete in-depth research on the topic. Participation in the program continues to grow with more than 500,000 students participating annually across the nation. This year's theme was "Breaking Barriers in History." Students presented their conclusions by creating museum-style exhibits, media documentaries, research papers, interactive websites, and dramatic performances. 


The school event was the first step in a competition cycle that can take students from the school level to regional, state, and national competitions. At each level of competition, students shared their work with their peers, historians, educators, and professionals in related fields as they competed for individual awards and the opportunity to advance to the next level of competition. 


Buffum entered in her third annual History Day competition this year. In sixth and seventh grades, she advanced to the regional and state competitions. Buffum made it to the runoff round last year at Maryland History Day (a program of Maryland Humanities) with an Individual Documentary on Richie Valens, one of the top eight projects in the category.