National History Day

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced the creation of “a new contest to encourage middle and high school students to use Chronicling America in their projects for National History Day. This will include cash prizes for exceptional use of the newspaper archives for junior and senior students in all submission categories. All National History Day participants who incorporate Chronicling America in their project research will receive certificates of recognition.”

Each year, students in grades 6 through 12 prepare exhibits, websites, papers, performances, and documentaries, on historical topics related to the National History Day theme. The theme for 2013 is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” The entries are judged first at local level (Tennessee is divided into six regions), then state level, and finally national level.

Earlier this year I was invited to be a judge at the East Tennessee regional contest. The standard of entries was outstanding. This contest inspires students to engage with history, while learning invaluable research and presentation skills that they can apply to other aspects of their studies. I was truly impressed with the level of work I saw. Can’t wait for next year’s contest!

Tennessee has a great track record at national level too! This year, Rebecca Derby and Rachel Emond from Sevier County High School were awarded the gold medal in the Senior Group Exhibit category for their project, “Ignition of a Revolution:¬† The Fire that Changed America.” Also, Springfield student¬†Brittany Wilharm, was awarded “The Legacy Prize” sponsored by the Creativity Foundation.

For more information on Tennessee History Day visit: