Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee Students Compete for Honors at District History Day Contests
(Published: February 15, 2012)

Beginning next week, students from across the state will demonstrate their research abilities, knowledge and creativity in the world's leading program for history education.

The district level competitions for Tennessee History Day are scheduled to take place from February 22 through March 24 in Greeneville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, and Memphis. More details about the times and locations of the district competitions are available at http://www.tennesseehistory.org/historyday.htm or by calling (615) 741-8934.

In the competitions, students in grades six through 12 will present history-themed projects in a variety of formats – including museum-style exhibits, papers, web sites, documentaries and even live performances. Judges are university professors, high school teachers, museum curators, archivists and other public historians.

The winners at the district competitions will be eligible to participate in the statewide competition, which will be held at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville on April 21. Winners in the statewide competition advance to the National History Day finals, which will be held in College Park, Maryland in June.

Nationwide, more than half a million students are expected to participate in some level of History Day competition, including 5,000 from Tennessee.

In June 2011 at the National History Day competition, Lauren Collins, a student at White Pine School in Jefferson County, took first place in the Junior Individual Documentary category for Eminent Domain: Private Tragedies for the Public Good. Lauren became Tennessee’s first national gold medal winner.

Tennessee History Day is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society and sponsored at the state level by the Tennessee Department of State, Humanities Tennessee and the Tennessee General Assembly. This year’s theme is Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History. Students are asked to examine how social, cultural, or political movements have been a force for change.

Local sponsors for the district competitions include the departments of history at the University of Memphis, Middle Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville as well as the East Tennessee Historical Society. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s School of Education and Department of History and Tusculum College’s Museum Studies Program and the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association will also serve as hosts for district competitions.

“The Department of State has enjoyed a great partnership with Tennessee History Day over the last three years,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “It is inspiring to watch some of our best and brightest students demonstrate the skills that will help them lead our great state in the future.”

Michael Cleghorn, a veteran History Day teacher at West Creek Middle School in Clarksville, echoes Secretary Hargett’s enthusiasm for the program. “NHD allows students to go beyond the historical facts and dates. It allows students to explore various aspects of history that often go unanswered in the classroom. Questions [are asked] that stimulate personal learning and offer in depth research opportunities [to] motivate students to become life-long learners.

Most students begin preparing for the competition soon after the school year begins. Their teachers will brainstorm with them to choose topics and provide them with the guidelines for entering the competition. Students may decide to enter as individuals or as groups.

National History Day’s impact goes well beyond the students who participate. Thousands of parents also get involved, making it a family affair. It also provides teachers with a unique teaching method.

Sharron Thompson, a homeschool teacher in Knoxville, agrees with this assessment of National History Day. “As I began homeschool education, of my children I struggled to incorporate [hands-on teaching techniques with] effective learning in the social studies curriculum. Then I was introduced to NHD. Now my students learn history as active participants through research and presentation.” Her students have benefited from participating in the program, and they will enthusiastically attest, “Now I feel like I am really learning and it's a lot of fun.”

Vanessa Lutton is the media specialist at Bellevue Middle School in Nashville and has also used the History Day program to teach invaluable research skills. “It’s an excellent venue for teachers to be able to teach a lot of different skills such as compiling research information, developing a professional presentation format and learning to write bibliographies,” said Lutton. “All of these things that it teaches can be taken into high school, college and the work place.”

Since 1974, National History Day has grown from a Cleveland, Ohio, competition with about 100 students to a national academic program.

For more information about the History Day program in Tennessee, including details about the district competitions, or the program’s state-level sponsor, the Tennessee Historical Society, visit http://www.tennesseehistory.org/historyday.htm or contact Jennifer C. Core at (615) 741-8934 or by email at historyday@tennesseehistory.org

 

Date District Host City

Wed. Feb. 22, 2012

North Middle Austin Peay State University, Department of History Clarksville
Fri. Feb. 24, 2012 Middle Middle Tennessee State University, Department of History Murfreesboro
Mon. Mar. 5, 2012 East University of Tennessee, Department of History and East Tennessee Historical Society Knoxville
Sat., Mar. 10, 2012 Southeast University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, School of Education adn Department of History Chattanooga
Tues. Mar. 20, 2012 Northeast Tusculum College, Museum Studies Program and Andrew Johnson Heritage Association Greeneville
Sat. Mar. 24, 2012 West University of Memphis, Department of History Memphis

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