COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Apollo–Soyuz Test Project in 1975 was the first joint U.S.-Soviet space flight and ceremoniously marked the end of the space race that had begun between the two superpowers in 1957 with the Sputnik launch.

A documentary on the topic catapulted three Cove elementary school students to the National History Day Program competition.

Copperas Cove Junior High School students Gabriella Gorres, John Gorres and Jonathan Harrison presented their documentary on the Apollo-Soyuz Mission and fellow students Matthew Lanning and Tyler Murphy displayed their exhibit on the Uranium Rush at the national contest after sweeping the Texas competition, said CCJHS history teacher and adviser Catherine Sharbeno.

“Their projects were chosen from 70,000 entries to represent Texas in the national contest. They went up against the 50 states and several territories,” Sharbeno said. “Unfortunately, they did not bring home a place medal. But Matthew and Tyler’s project was chosen as an outstanding entry from Texas.

“The documentary group of Gorres and Harrison was selected as our state representatives for the National History Day breakfast on Capitol Hill with the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

CCJHS incoming seventh-grader John Gorres said being at the National History Day was educational in a number of ways.

“To win state and go on to nationals to represent Texas was such an honor. Even after we found out we did not make it to finals, it was still an amazing experience,” he said. “We got to trade buttons with people from different countries and states. We learned so much from the different projects that were represented from all over the world. We got to tour many different monuments and museums.”

For incoming freshman and sister Gabriella Gorres, it was a trip she will long remember.

“Not only did we meet amazing people from all over the world, but we also learned about many historical topics that are important to our world today,” she said. “The button trading between the different states and countries was the coolest ice breaker ever. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.”

Sharbeno said she is very proud of the students’ hard work and the parents’ dedication to the National History Day program.

“They had been working on their projects for almost a year and are already looking at topics for next year’s competition,” Sharbeno said. “They enjoyed their time so much in the (Washington, D.C.) area that they are wanting to go back again next year. We really appreciate the school board for approving their trip and supporting the NHD program.”

CCJHS teacher Jennifer Wills and retired teacher Danny Corbett were the sponsors who accompanied the students to the national contest.

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