Tennessee State Seal
Students from Clarksville, Memphis Win Top Honors at National History Day
(Published: June 17, 2013)

Four Tennessee students received national honors at the annual National History Day (NHD) competition that was recently held at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Lily Joiner, Katelyn Mitchell, and Keya Patel of Clarksville were awarded the prize for Best Entry on a World War II topic for their Senior Group Performance. Their drama, "From Frills and Frocks to Zoot Suits and Parachutes: The WASPs of WW II," relied upon archival research and first person interviews with surviving WASPs. Lily, Katelynn, and Keya attend Northeast High School. Whitney Joyner and Polly Kopp are their teachers. The award is sponsored by the National World War II Museum.

The prize for Outstanding Entry on an International Theme was awarded to Areej Malley for her Senior Individual Paper on "Turning Points in the History of the Palestinian Movement." Areej attends Pleasant View Academy in Memphis where her teacher is Calvin Shaw. In addition to a medal, Areej received $5,000. The award is sponsored by History (formerly known as The History Channel).

Representing Tennessee at this year's national competition were 62 middle and high school students who developed entries based on this year's theme: Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events. The 36 entries included documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and web sites. The Tennessee delegation began the week with a pizza party, followed by the opening ceremony. The students had the opportunity to tour the U.S. Capitol, meet with Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker and attend a private reception at the National Museum of American History.

"I am proud of all our students," said Tennessee History Day coordinator Jennifer C. Core. "I'm impressed by how they turn themselves into experts on their selected topics and how they incorporate constructive feedback into each revision of their projects. They are learning how to examine sources critically and how to present their findings to a sophisticated audience."

"Congratulations to all of this year's History Day participants from Tennessee, who represented our state so well," Secretary Hargett said. "History Day provides students with a fun way to learn about history outside of a classroom setting. Students learn skills they can use in college and in their careers. And research suggests History Day participants are more engaged and active citizens after they reach adulthood."

In addition to the national prize winners, three students were selected to exhibit their project at the National Museum of American History. Jeremiah Branson, Justin Cross, Noah Dunlap presented their Senior Group Exhibit, "The Einstein-Szilard Letter: Re-writing the Course of History," to museum visitors. Jeremiah, Justin, and Noah attend the L & N STEM Academy in Knoxville, where Jill Robbins is their teacher.

Four students were also recognized for having the best entries from Tennessee.

Ibtihal Malley of Memphis was recognized as the Best Affiliate Entry, Junior Division, for her Junior Individual Paper, “The 1956 Suez Crisis: Turning Point in British Imperial History and Middle East Global Politics.” Ibtihal attends Pleasant View Academy in Memphis. Her teacher is Sharayah Peterson. Ibtihal was ranked 4th out of 94 competitors, just missing an individual medal.

"TVA: Progress Through Resource Development," a Senior Group Documentary created by Hunter Henry, Tyler Showman, and Patric Vance, received the Best Affiliate Entry, Senior Division award. Hunter, Tyler, and Patric attend South Greene High School in Greeneville. Noelle Smith is their teacher.

In the Junior Individual Web site category, Joy Marshall was ranked fifth out of 95 entries. Joy is homeschooled by her mother, Laura Marshall. They live in Knoxville.

Two teachers were recognized as Tennessee's Patricia Behring Teachers of the Year: Whitney Joyner of Northeast Middle School in Clarksville and Noelle Smith of South Greene High School in Greeneville. Each received a framed certificate and $500.

NHD is a yearlong academic organization for middle and high school students focused on the teaching and learning of history. A recent study by Rockman, et al found students who participate in NHD develop a range of college and career-ready skills and outperform their peers on state standardized tests in multiple subjects, including reading, science, math and social studies. The program engages 7,000 students across the state of Tennessee. Tennessee History Day is coordinated by the Tennessee Historical Society, with support from Secretary Hargett's office and Humanities Tennessee.