History Department to host National History Day regional competition

Western Carolina University will host a National History Day regional academic competition Saturday, March 18, that will feature middle and high school students creating projects based on a central historical theme.

Several hundred students from Western North Carolina are expected to take part in the noon until 5 p.m. event hosted by the WCU History Department and organized by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Western Office, directed by Jeff Futch.

This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History,” which encourages students to explore those individuals who have taken risks and taken a stand, whether in a political, social, religious, military, economic, intellectual or artistic sphere. Possible projects range from papers and exhibits to performances, documentaries and websites. Regional winners will go on to compete in Raleigh for statewide honors and possibly advance to a national competition.

Honor Sachs

Participating students have to engage in various types of research, develop communication skills and use critical thinking, all of which help students become more creative, thoughtful and engaged citizens, said Honor Sachs, WCU assistant professor of history. “Events like this really encourage students to be creative thinkers,” she said. “The students who participate in National History Day present work that is innovative, thoughtful and exciting. Their projects surprise and delight us every year.”

Started in 1974, National History Day is an academic program that introduces students to the study of history. After evaluations and judging at district and state events, top-ranking students are then selected to participate in the national contest in College Park, Maryland, each June.

For more information on National History Day events at WCU, contact Jessie Swigger, director of WCU’s Public History Program, at jswigger@wcu.edu or Sachs at hrsachs@wcu.edu.