Four students from Napa’s New Technology High School win award for spy documentary

November 11, 2019
Students in Nancy Hale's class at New Technology High have won an award for their documentary about a female British spy during World War II. Submitted image.

Four New Technology High School students created a documentary about an unsung hero, Eileen Nearne, who spied for the British during World War II. The film won second prize in the international competition Milken Family Unsung Hero Discovery Award.

The eleventh graders — Jackie Vega, Priscilla Sanchez, Kevin Jakoby and Charles Brooks — will split the $3,000 prize.

Students in Nancy Hale’s 10th-grade humanities class were tasked with finding a World War II unsung hero to research and present in the form of a documentary, website or play.

“She [Eileen] was a woman back then when there was a lot of misogyny and women were so often overlooked,” said Vega when asked how she chose the subject for her documentary. The team spent weeks researching their subject, which resulted in a 20-page annotated bibliography with 32 primary and secondary sources.

“We got lucky with primary sources—an interview with her later in her life was a valuable source,” Vega said. “First we wanted to introduce the time of war that she entered and all the things that led up to her becoming a spy and how that led her to be captured.”

The film “Eileen Nearne Documentary” can be watched on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cndMC4uu_1A.