Students compete in National History Day

History students create projects for competition

By Luna Stephens

National History Day is a competition that gives students a chance to look at history in a deeper way, as they are able to explore a topic of their choice, research and then compile a product from it.

Students start work as early as August for competition in early March. This year’s competition is at Blue Valley West on Saturday, Mar. 5.

History teachers Tracy Murray, Valerie Schrag and Jack Hood are all sponsoring students going to the event, and each have a handful of students participating.

“It’s a fun day and it looks good on a resume,” Hood said. “Traditionally we do well and have a lot of kids that qualify for state.”

Students spend time researching a topic of their choice to turn into some sort of presentation, whether it’s a poster or a website. This process can be very time consuming, especially as many of the students that participate are in multiple AP classes and have busy schedules.  

“The process has been excruciating,” sophomore Mia Waters said. “Especially trying to work around busy schedules.”

Despite the hard process it entails, National History Day can be a great opportunity for students to further their understanding of history and learn about a topic they are actually interested in.

Each year, the organization decides on a different theme to have all the participants focus on. This year’s theme is “Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange.” Students must use these categories of analysis when compiling their final products. Despite having a given theme, participants are given a lot of freedom and are able to use those towards a topic they have a large interest in.

“National history day has helped me tie together information in the past to a topic I find interesting,” Waters said.

Waters is working with sophomore Megan Wisbey to create a poster about changes in music after WWI.

“My project is about a town in France called Le Chambon sur Lignon, which harbored Jews during World War II,” sophomore Leah Marett said. “I found it very interesting that this town was so little known even though they had done so much, and I was captivated by their story. In my project, I focused mostly on the rescuers and survivors from Le Chambon, the history of the town, and general wartime life there.”

Marett’s project is a website she has created after compiling extensive research. 

“Pick a topic you enjoy, because if you don’t it makes the whole experience much less enjoyable,” Marett said.

National History Day is an organization that has been going on for over 45 years and goes from regional competition to state to national.

“If [participants] make it to the national competition, the trip to Washington DC is amazing,” Hood said.