Written by Tracy Hayes
Three projects featuring Julius Rosenwald and the legacy of Rosenwald Schools placed in the finals for their state and traveled to College Park, Maryland for the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland June 14-18. This year’s contest topic was The Individual in History and their Legacy. The two exhibits and one documentary on Rosenwald won local, regional, and state contests to make their way to the national contest where nearly 2,200 middle and high school students from the 50 states, Washington DC, Guam, Samoa, and US Department of Defense Schools in Europe gathered to compete for honors, prizes, and scholarships in each of five categories. Two of the three Rosenwald entries took home top honors as best-in-state for South Carolina.
National History Day grew out of a program begun with 129 students presenting history projects at Case Western Reserve in Ohio in 1974. Today, more than 600,000 students participate nationwide. Only two projects from each category are selected to represent their state at nationals.
Categories include papers, websites, documentaries, exhibits, and performances – the latter three categories can be group projects or individual, with Junior (middle school) and Senior (high school) divisions. Research requirements rival college level papers. Students then present projects to a panel of judges. Judging is based on the breadth of research, sources used, knowledge of topic, the adherence to the rules of the contest, the presentation, and student interviews. Most students spend the better part of the school year working on their presentations.
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