Rogers New Tech Students Win First Place In National Competition

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ROGERS (KFSM) -- Three Rogers New Technical High School students are now considered national winners after competing in the National History Day Competition in Washington D.C.

Sai Panabakam, Sidra Nadeem and Denise Martinez won first place with their documentary titled, Standing With the Voiceless: The Life and Legacy of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

“Our hearts were like pounding very fast and it was up on the screen. We went there and like ours was the first one because we were just looking for standing with the voiceless and we were like OMG and she just started screaming. It was just amazing,” Panabakam said.

Their documentary beat out around 100 others.

They chose Archbishop Oscar Romero as their topic because they said many people don't know that as the archbishop of San Salvador, Romero spoke out against poverty and social injustice.

“The story of Arch Bishop Oscar Romero was like very long and he has a very great history and we thought it would be great to show it in a story. So, we thought a better way to show a story would be through a documentary,” she said.

The girls started working on the documentary in November and spent hundreds of hours perfecting it and even making changes the night before the big competition.

“Every time they came back with a new revision for me to look at or a new script for me to read it just got better. They actually got to the point where I was like you have to stop showing this to me because I have no more advice. Like there is nothing I can give you that will make this any better than it already is,” Casey Bazyk said.

Rogers New Tech has been participating in National History Day for four years, but this is the first time a project has placed at nationals. The girls said they plan on working on another project for the competition next year.