Publication Date

September 1, 1989

Perspectives Section


AHA Topic

K–12 Education

National History Day, the only nationwide competition that rewards students for excellence in historical research and analysis, celebrated its tenth year on June 11–15 with the largest and most successful competition to date. Nearly 2,000 students (grades 6–12) from 43 states and the District of Columbia came to the University of Maryland, College Park campus to vie for honors in seven categories of competition at two age levels. This year’s theme, “The Individual in History,” inspired winning papers, projects, performances, and media presentations not only on notables such as Sojourner Truth, Albert Einstein, and Sam Ervin but also on lesser-known individuals, representative figures, and even groups of individuals.

At the closing ceremonies on June 15, eighty students and their teachers were recognized for first, second, and third place entries in the various categories of competition. Another forty-one entries received special prizes awarded by such groups as the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, the Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession, the History of Science Society, the National Archives, Phi Alpha Theta, and the AFL-CIO. Finally, eighty-five students were recognized for outstanding state entries. That’s over two hundred new would-be historians! These awards culminated a year of work and competition at local, regional, and state levels involving nearly 300,000 students across the United States.

National History Day 1990 will address “Science and Technology in History,” with the finals scheduled for June 10–14 again at College Park. The National Science Foundation has recently agreed to provide financial assistance for developing related classroom materials. Then in 1991, the focus will shift to “Rights in History,” with major funding from the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. Each year National History Day not only oversees the various competitions but also sponsors workshops for teachers, materials development, and other efforts to enhance pre-college history education. For additional information, contact Dr. Lois Scharf, Executive Director, National History Day, 11201 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106.