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Local student wins top award in National History Day competition

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 26, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lexington student competed for one of the top prizes in this year’s National History Day competition. Jack Gill is a rising sophomore at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and he has a few different interests.

“I’m doing the math, science, technology program here at Dunbar,” Gill said, “so those are a few of my interests.”

Gill also enjoys history, and he found a way to combine all of these interests together by putting together a documentary for National History Day.

“The theme this year was turning points in history,” Gill said. “I thought about all the AI stuff that’s coming out, ChatGPT and everything like that. I’m like, ‘well this had to start somewhere, where did that start?’”

According to Gill, he began researching for his topic just after it was released last July. During the research phase, he discovered Claude Shannon, a pioneer of information theory.

Gill explained, “most communication things, anything that communicates from one place to another, stems from his 1948 paper.”

In the documentary titled A Theory, a Paper, a Turning Point: Claude Shannon’s 1948 “Mathematical Theory of Communication,” Gill showcased how Claude’s theory was a turning point, laying the groundwork for our interconnected and high-tech world today.


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The documentary started out in a local competition, and Gill made it all the way to the national stage just outside of Washington D.C.

“It’s so nice to be there with all the other people that have done all these projects and worked so hard to get here,” Gill said,” and now you get to meet them and talk to them.”

In three years of competition, Gill has made it to the national round each year. This year, though, he advanced to the final round. When the time came to hand out the awards, Gill earned the gold.

“They read off my name and I was like, oh, oh my goodness, oh, it’s me!”

Gill took the top prize in the Senior Individual Documentary category.

Gill said, “After I was up there and after I received my reward, I was like, I have won something for Kentucky. I have won something for my school, I have won something for my community.”

You can find Gill’s full documentary here.