SPRING HILL — When Springstead High School history students Jordan Burchell and Christopher Sarabalis decided to team up and do a Florida State History Fair project, they thought deeply about their topic.
"We wanted to pick a topic that has historical significance and future implications," said Burchell, 17, who just finished his junior year.
"We researched the conflict and compromise between the two branches of knowledge (science and religion)," said Sarabalis, 16, who has just completed his sophomore year.
Their selection was a winning combination that earned the students a second place in the state history competition and a chance to compete in the national competition. Sponsored by National World History Day, the contest will be in Washington, D.C., Monday through Thursday.
The social studies world history teacher who guided the students throughout the year and will be accompanying them to Washington is Suzanne Miranda. Going along is language arts/academic team teacher, Steve Davey. The Hernando County School District will foot the bill for the airfare and lodging.
The competition is divided into five categories: Web design, historical paper, exhibit, documentary and performance. The Springstead students' entry was in Web design. They aptly named it "Science and Religion."
"It's a complete Web site," Burchell said. It has an array of links and is full of quotes from significant individuals ranging from Albert Einstein to Pope Benedict XVI. The students include their analyses of the quotes. "It's all designed to make the user interactive," he said.
Part of the site includes video. There are 11 pages of sources.
"We chose the topic because we are both interested in science," said Sarabalis, adding that this was a way to work that interest into history.
Burchell hopes to study law. He also hopes to become a U.S. senator.
Sarabalis wants to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a double major, if he can. "I'm trying to decide between electrical or mechanical engineering," he said.
He said he would like to work on airplanes, naval technologies, fluid mechanics or robotics. Sarabalis was a Hernando County representative at this year's International Science Fair.
While working together on the history project, the students said they have learned a lot and have found it very interesting research. They said they made a good team. "He's very detail-oriented, and I'm more the big-picture (person)," Burchell said.
"My opinions of science and religion have changed dramatically," Sarabalis said. "Science is almost becoming a proof for the existence of God. The two are converging."
"Science is looking for the explanation of life existence," Burchell said. "Religion explains why we exist and science explains how we exist."