Last year, a student from White Pine, Tenn. finished first in the nation among her peers for a documentary she prepared examining the history of eminent domain laws.
About 345 other Tennessee students in grades six through 12 would like to duplicate her success this year. But first, they must qualify at Tennessee History Day, which will be held at various sites downtown this Saturday.
History Day is a competition in which students are judged on the quality of their exhibits, term papers, web sites, documentaries or live performances on history-themed topics. This year’s theme is “Revolution, Reaction and Reform in History.”
“History Day is beneficial to our state’s young people in many ways,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett, whose department is one of the event’s sponsors for the third consecutive year. “First of all, it provides students with a fun way to learn about history outside a traditional classroom setting. History Day also helps them build skills - such as organizing, researching and critical thinking - that will help them in their schoolwork and later in their professional lives. Perhaps best of all, studies have shown that people who participate in History Day when they are young grow up to be better informed and more engaged citizens as adults. These results demonstrate that History Day is a great investment in our state’s future.”
Since its founding as a small contest in Ohio in 1974, History Day has grown into a national event with about 500,000 participants each year, including about 5,000 Tennesseans.
The top 1,000 Tennessee students participated in six regional competitions held across the state in February and March. Of that total, more than 400 did well enough in their respective categories to qualify for the statewide event, although not all of the qualifiers are expected to attend.
“I’m excited to see the quality of work the students have produced,” said Tennessee History Day coordinator Jennifer Core. “An important part of the learning process is revision, and the students have the opportunity to improve their projects at each level of competition. Watching the students start with a vague idea and then shaping that into a finished documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or web site is gratifying.”
The event, which is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society, will be held at the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Auditorium, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower and Nashville Public Library. The opening ceremony will be at 9 a.m. and the judging will begin at 10 a.m.
For more details about the event, visit www.tennesseehistoryday.org. Media coverage of the event is encouraged.
Saturday’s winners will be eligible to participate in National History Day, which will be held at the University of Maryland in June.