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Local students collect first place at state history fair

By Staff | May 13, 2009

Two eighth-graders at Diplomat Middle School will attend the National History Fair in College Park, Md., after earning first place at the state competition last weekend.
Tisha Saylor and Dianelys Barrios captured top honors at the competition, hosted May 7-9 at Tallahassee Community College, for their documentary “An Ordinary Hero.” Now they will travel to the national competition June 14 at the University of Maryland.
According to Sue LosHuertos, media specialist at Diplomat Middle, this is the second time the school has sent students to the nationals.
“There were 35 documentaries in their category and they had to come up on top out of those,” she said.
The documentary is based on the life of Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank in her attic during World War II. Without Gies’ assistance, it is unlikely that “The Diary of Anne Frank” would have been published.
Since the discovery of the diary, it has gone on to sell 25 million copies in 54 different languages.
“What made it really special was not only telling her story, but we found a priest in California who is personal friends with Miep,” LosHuertos said. “He gave us a lot of pictures and things we wouldn’t have been able to get ahold of.”
Throughout the research portion of the project, the priest provided the girls with recent photographs of Gies and a decades old grocery list found in Gies’ jacket pocket. The students also worked with historians from The Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance to create the documentary.
The school is accepting donations to assist the students and their families raise the $8,000 needed to travel to Maryland.
An account has been created and donations can be sent to Diplomat Middle School at 1039 N.E. 16th Terrace.
For more information, contact the school at 574-5257.