Tennessee State Seal
Young History Students from Tennessee Qualifying for National Competition
(Published: April 8, 2015)

More than 300 Tennessee students will be in Nashville this weekend competing for a chance  to showcase their knowledge at a national history competition to be held this summer.

Students in grades 6-12 from around the state will participate in Saturday's Tennessee History Day, a daylong event that will be held at various locations in downtown Nashville. The students, split into middle school and high school divisions, will present history-related projects in five different categories: documentaries, exhibits, performances, papers and websites.

The students judged to have the best projects in each category will be eligible to participate with peers from across the country in National History Day, which will be held on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Maryland in June. As many as 60 Tennessee students could be selected to make the trip.

This year's theme for the projects is: "Leadership & Legacy in History."

National History Day was founded in 1974 by an Ohio college professor who wanted to create an outlet where students could learn about history outside of the traditional classroom setting. From humble beginnings, the event has grown to the point where hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and parents participate in some level of competition each year.

The competition begins at individual schools, with the top entrants advancing to district competitions. The district winners advance to statewide competitions.

In Tennessee, about 7,100 students participated at the school level this year. Nearly 1,500 of those students advanced to one of the six district competitions, with 322 qualifying for Saturday's event.

Judging in the different categories this Saturday will be held at the Polk Theater, the Tennessee Tower, the Legislative Plaza, and the Nashville Public Library.

The Tennessee Historical Society coordinates the annual statewide event. The Tennessee Secretary of State's office is one of the co-sponsors.

"I'm very proud of all the students who will be participating in Tennessee History Day this Saturday," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "Creating projects for History Day helps students develop research, critical thinking and team-building skills that will serve them well as they continue their education and later as they enter the workforce. Studies have also shown that students who participate in History Day tend to be better informed and engaged in civic activities after they reach adulthood. I wish all of Saturday's contestants well and I know that the winners will represent our state well at National History Day."