The 2017 theme for the contest is Taking a Stand in History. In a year that has seen numerous marches on Washington and an increase in civic engagement, students will present hundreds of projects about positions that people have taken throughout our country’s history and the individuals and groups that supported them.
“Since 1974, National History Day has been taking a stand for history education,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Every year we engage thousands of students in historical research and critical thinking. It is wonderful to see so many students engaged and interested in history.”
The contest kicks off with a welcome ceremony at 6:30 p.m. June 11. Filmmaker Ken Burns will address the students, speaking about his own experience telling the stories of history and offering encouragement to the thousands of anxious young students before judging begins June 12. In addition, Burns’ long-time partner and co-director of the upcoming film, THE VIETNAM WAR, Lynn Novick, will participate in a teacher workshop where she will discuss the making of the documentary and preview the teacher resources being created to accompany the film. THE VIETNAM WAR will premiere on PBS Sept. 17. For more information, visit at: http://pbs.org/vietnam.
“We think the challenges we face are unique to our time,” Burns said. “But as these students know, history provides us with a way to understand not just the past but the very challenges we face. Throughout our country’s history, people have taken a stand on a wide-range of issues to facilitate change, frequently to ensure that our country was living up to its values. Studying these stands is helpful, and I’d add reassuring, during these tumultuous times.”
June 12-13, students will present their projects to judging panels of educators and historians. Highest ranked entries will make it to a final round that takes place June 13-14. Finally, June 15, the awards will be announced at a colorful celebration of history at the Xfinity Center on the University of Maryland, College Park campus.
The top entries in each category can win any number of honors, including category awards, scholarships, outstanding affiliate entry awards, and special prizes. These prizes are made possible through the generous sponsorship of individuals, groups, and organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Park Service. Three high school participants will receive full or partial scholarships from Case Western Reserve University, Chaminade University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. For a list of all special prizes, visit nhd.org/special-prizes/.
Founded in 1974, at Case Western Reserve University, National History Day has grown from a contest of a few hundred students to an international educational organization promoting the appreciation of history education. More than half a million students, who are guided by more than 30,000 teachers, participate in this project-based academic competition annually.