With state employees and other downtown office workers home for the weekend, a special group of students will be converging on downtown Nashville Saturday to compete in Tennessee History Day. About 400 sixth- through 12-graders will be participating, with the winners advancing to the National History Day finals in College Park, Maryland June 9-13.
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 historical topics. The theme of this year's event is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.”
The event, which is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society, will be held at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Museum, the Nashville Public Library, the War Memorial Auditorium, and the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Judging will occur throughout the morning and early afternoon, capped by an awards ceremony at 3 p.m. The event is open to the public.
“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 fourth consecutive year. “It provides students an environment in which they are challenged with not only learning the historical material, but also coming up with ways to creatively present that material. History Day helps build skills such as critical thinking, organizing and researching materials. Also, studies have shown that students who participate in History Day competitions grow up to be better informed and more engaged citizens as adults. History is so important because it can teach us so much about the current condition of our nation and the world."
Since its founding as a small contest in Ohio in 1974, History Day has grown into a national event with about 600,000 participants each year, including about 7,000 Tennesseans.
The top 1,300 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.
"We're excited to have such growth this year. We anticipate almost 100 more students in attendance than last year," Tennessee History Day Coordinator Jennifer Core said. "Tennessee History Day enjoys strong support across the state. We have seen a significant increase in participation in West Tennessee and Northeast Tennessee, the result of concentrated outreach in those districts."
For more details about the event, visit www.tennesseehistoryday.org. Media coverage of the event is encouraged.