Desoto County News

Hernando students know their history at National History Fair

Photo: Hernando High School history teacher Margaret Hicks, with Annie Burford, Emily Zamarron, and Will Hicks of Sacred Heart School and from Hernando. (Bob Bakken/

A group of students from Hernando High School and Sacred Heart School in Southaven spent a week in June competing in the National History Day 2023 National Contest. The four days in and around the Nation’s Capitol pitted exhibits from the Hernando students against others from around the country and internationally.  

Hernando High School history teacher and students Annie Burford, Emily Zamarron, along with Sacred Heart School student Will Hicks of Hernando brought their exhibits and were recognized at a recent Hernando Board of Aldermen meeting.  

Hicks told aldermen that this was the first year any student from DeSoto County had even entered the Mississippi History Fair, the precursor to the national event at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.  

“They went to regionals and the three teams from Hernando swept first, second, and third place,” Hicks explained. “The first two teams went on to state and won first and second place in the high school division. Another Hernando resident from Sacred Heart won first place in the state in the middle school division.”

Hicks said there were 46 states represented and 13 international American academies, American territories and protectorates. There were students from as far away as South Korea and Hong Kong. 

At the National History Day competition, the two exhibits from Hernando High placed among the top 26 in the nation. Sacred Heart School exhibitor Will Hicks also competed as a middle schooler. His project was on Charley Pride as a Mississippian who pioneered racial diversity in country music. 

One of the highlights for the week was that the presentation on the “Mother of Modern Medicine” by students Annie Burford, Emily Zamarron, and Eliza Sims, was selected to be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History on Flag Day.   

“It was an amazing experience for all of our students,” Hicks said. “I want to take more teams and more categories.” 

More than 400 historians and education professionals served as judges for the students’ work. $150,000 in scholarships were awarded at the national awards ceremony, and over 100 students took home cash prizes between $250 and $1,000 for superior work. A full list of award recipients can be found at

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