Nation History Day: LMA encourages historical awareness, hosts competition
by Reporter | February 23, 2018 10:02 am
Last Updated: February 23, 2018 at 10:15 am
by Emily Wachter
To bring historical awareness and urge middle school and high school students to become involved in researching historical events, Laurence Manning Academy (LMA) celebrated its annual National History Day (NHD) on Feb. 12.
According to its website, the NHD organization seeks to educate students by offering a competitive outlet for creativity, scholarship, critical thinking skills and expression. While individual schools may have certain preferences, the NHD organization allows projects for the competition to take form in several different creative mediums. Students may enter original papers, websites, exhibits, performances or documentaries.
Thousands of schools, both public and private, participate in NHD competitions throughout the academic year, and the students who exhibit the most competitive projects are often invited to proceed in the competition and register their projects at regional and state levels.
At LMA, fifth, eighth and tenth graders enrolled in required history courses are expected to compete in the competition as part of their grade. However, fifth grade students are not eligible to compete past the school level, and any high school student is eligible to compete, even if he or she is not currently enrolled in a history class.
Throughout the years that LMA has participated in NHD, the school’s students have consistently received several regional and state titles each year. On average, LMA sponsors approximately 45 students’ trips to regional competitions. Of those participants, approximately 15 are asked to represent LMA at the state level.
Ashton Parrish, social sciences department chair and high school teacher at LMA, organizes and hosts the school’s competition with help from other social science faculty members, such as Nancy Hubbard, Kathryne Jans and Barry Hatfield. According to Parrish, the NHD organization releases the theme and rules for the competition at the beginning of each academic year. In the months leading up to the event, the social sciences faculty help students organize and polish their projects for the competition.
In previous years, the competition was held in the school’s gymnasium; this year, students displayed their creative works in the Youth Development Center on campus. Before classes began on competition day, students came in early to set up their projects and view their competition. This year, submissions included exhibits, academic papers and websites.
After the students had set up their projects, the projects were judged by a group of three or more judges to determine which projects would be invited to compete at regional level. As fifth graders are not allowed to compete at regionals, high school seniors who have shown exceptional skill and knowledge in history classes were asked to judge the fifth grade competition, Parrish said.
Throughout the school day, the judges inspected and scored the projects based on the NHD’s official rubric, and by the end of the day, projects from several categories were chosen to compete at the regional level.
This year, LMA invited 27 students to attend the regional competition. In eighth grade, Gray Barrineau, Kenya Cogdill, Davis Campbell, Lowden Olsen, Jackson Campbell, Bryce Accord, Mickey Jordan and Denzel Sigler were recipients of group exhibit awards. In the single exhibit category, Camryn Dunlap, Ava Ambroggio, Emily Anderson and Autumn Carey earned a place at regionals, as well.
In the tenth grade competition, students competing in several different categories were asked to enter their projects at the regional level. Katherine Burns, Carrie Rickenbaker, Breanna Boykin and Chase Lee were asked to showcase their group exhibits at regionals, while Alyssa Gottheiner, Bryson Woodard and Trey Sharpe placed in the single exhibit category. Within the tenth grade, several students who entered papers and websites also gained a seat at regionals. In the paper category, Madi Lew and William Barrineau will proceed to regionals. Abby Glass, Freddy Segura, Shawn Schuessler, Christian Bachand, Dylan Linginfelter and Will Ward were all asked to compete in the group website category at regionals.
Aside from the potential scholarships available to students who compete at higher levels in the NHD competition, Parrish said that competing in NHD allows students to exhibit their creativity and learn about the world around them in a way that encourages out-of-class learning and professional development.
“Competing gives them experience in researching topics and primary documents that they might not be exposed to in a classroom and encourages them to think in terms of lasting impacts from historical events” Parrish said. “They also learn how to prepare for interviews as that is part of the process at the regional and state competitions.”