Maria Viera, an 8th grader at , was recently recognized in a national competition for her award-winning website on the Cuban Missile Crisis.
She created the website as part of the gifted and talented program, which stipulates that students complete a history day project or two historical investigations throughout the year, according to school officials.
Back in September, Viera began working on her project for Howard County History Day, which took place March 19 at Reservoir High School.
This year's topic was "Debate and Diplomacy in History," established by the National History Day progam.
“I chose the Cuban Missile Crisis because I remembered that in seventh grade we had learned about the Cold War, and I really enjoyed it,” said Viera, an eighth grader from Columbia.
“I knew that the crisis took place during the Cold War, so I did some background research on it. I was fascinated by how close the world had come to a nuclear war. People could have been annihilated in a matter of minutes," continued Viera in an email to Patch. "If this war had occurred, we would most likely not be here today. I was very curious to see how the crisis had been resolved and how we had avoided war."
Viera won at the Mayfield Woods competition and in Howard County's History Day contest for her website.
Judges selected 32 projects from Howard County that went on to the state competition.
The top two entries in each category and division at the state contest are eligible move on to the National History Day contest held each June at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Viera won second in Maryland, moving on to nationals. At the national competition, she took the award for Outstanding Entry for the State of Maryland. In addition, her website was ranked sixth in the nation.
"History Day has been a truly phenomenal and life-changing experience," said Viera. "I believe it has prepared me for high school and college, and I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to participate."
The competition was sponsored in part by the History Channel and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Viera was one of two Howard County students who received national recognition for her project. Emily Galik from Marriotts Ridge High School also won an award for Outstanding Entry for the State of Maryland at nationals for her exhibit "Patients or Prisoners? Dorthea Dix and the Debate Surrounding the American Asylum Movement."