National History Day participants competed at district History Day April 11. Five students advanced to the state competition which will be held May 4 at the Iowa Events Center.
Out of the 11 high school students who participated, five advanced to state. Sophomore Brooke Thacker and juniors Eilidh Chowanec, Olivia Hrubetz, Jacob Smith and Hannah Hoffman all advanced to state with their presentations. Sophomores Nicole Hobson and Justin Hu were finalist at districts, but did not advance.
National History Day is a program for students in sixth grade through their senior years to research, analyze and present historical information that fits into an annual theme.
“It is a fun way to work with other students to dig into research,” History Day sponsor Kathy Paul said. “It is heavy duty research. Some of these [students] will have will have close to one hundred sources by the time they reach the national level.”
This year’s History Day theme was leadership and legacy. All of the students who have participated researched an individual in history who was a leader, positively or negatively, and their legacy. “We created a website about Deng Xiao Ping,” Hobson said. “We started researching around October.”
History Day is distinctive from a regular history project because of the way it is presented. “History Day is an opportunity that allows students to [present] historical research in a creative manor,” Paul said.
Students who participate can present their research in the form of a documentary, performance, exhibit, historical paper or website. Students can also work in groups of two to five to complete their presentation, unless it is a historical paper. Once at the competition, the students present their project to a judge who critiques their masterpiece.
Not only do students present their own projects, they also view other students’ work. “[Competing at districts] is really fun because you get to be with your friends and also see how other people interrupted different events in history,” Hobson said.