Two high-school students of Greek descent have topped the 2022 National History Challenge for their outstanding independent research and critical thinking skills as they explored this year’s theme “Causes and Consequences”.

Overall winner across Australia, Nektaria Toscas, a Year 11 student from Camberwell Girls Grammar School, was named the 2022 Young Historian of the Year for her original essay that explored the connections of the Eurovision Song Contest with European Politics.

Speaking to Neos Kosmos about what led her to research such an original topic, Nektaria explained that she “was inspired to explore the interconnections between Eurovision and European Politics following the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine this year. The actions and attitudes of the Eurovision Song Contest towards Ukraine this year in May, and the subsequent outcomes of the 2022 competition, made me curious as to whether these outcomes were consistent with a pattern of Eurovision primarily supporting countries seeking or desiring a Western Identity not just this year, but across its whole history, including at its inception.”

Another national winner of Greek descent is Olivia Tsigaropoulos, a Year 9 student of Casimir Catholic College. She came first in the category Democracy Matters, for expertly analysing in an engaging presentation the evolution and success of ‘Shopfront’, her local theatre group. On researching and creating her presentation Olivia said “History isn’t just about the big events – everything has a history, everything has a story that is waiting to be shared. Shopfront is an incredible community that I’m so grateful to be a part of. Its story is powerful, touching and heart warming – I think people need to hear it.”

Nektaria Toscas and Olivia Tsigaropoulos standing next to each other in the front row. (L to R after Minister of Education Jason Clare). Photo: Facebook/Jason Clare

Approximately 4,000 students from 500 schools across the country entered the National History Challenge this year, a competition that gave Australian students the chance to be historians, using quality research to engage with the theme: Causes and Consequences. The National History Challenge encourages students from primary school through to Year 12 to undertake inquiry-based research and present their findings through essays, multimedia presentations or museum exhibits.

Nektaria Toscas and Olivia Tsigaropoulos, with other exceptional students travelled to Canberra to receive their awards on Monday.

During the ceremony Minister of Education Jason Clare expressed his love for history and how impressed he was with some of the amazing work submitted by students across Australia. On announcing the winner he said: “It’s not really fair, but there can only be one Young Historian of the Year, and it is my privilege to now announce who that is. ABBA won it. Celine Dion won it. We have tried to win it. And for her work on the history of it and its link to European politics (I’m talking about Eurovision), the winner of the 2022 Young Historian of the Year is Nektaria Toscas.”

Olivia Tsigaropoulos during her passionate presentation of her local theatre group Shopfront. Photo: Youtube

You can read the students’ essays and watch their presentations online at

Olivia Tsigaropoulos’ inspiring presentation is also on YouTube below.