The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Northwestern Wisconsin Regional National History Day competition taking place on campus

Middle and high school students will gather at UW-Eau Claire to compete in annual event
Photo by Isabella Matczak
“This event provides an opportunity to showcase our campus and the opportunities available for students interested in studying history,” Mann said.

The Northwestern Wisconsin Regional National History Day competition is an event that allows middle and high school students to conduct historical research and present their project to judges in the form of a paper, exhibit, performance, documentary or website.

UW-Eau Claire will host this year’s regional competition from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 in Davies Student Center.

This annual contest is operated by National History Day, a nonprofit organization in Maryland. The program started in Cleveland, Ohio in 1974 with 129 students. Today it has grown to over half a million students entering this year.

National History Day events begin at the individual school level and gradually advance to the regional, state and national competition. In Wisconsin, any number of students can advance to state from the regional competition as long as they have achieved enough points.

In states such as Pennsylvania, California or Connecticut, however, only the top three entries at the regional level can qualify for state. At all state level contests, the top two projects in each category and division can advance to the national competition.

This year is the 50th anniversary of National History Day. To celebrate, the theme that students must frame their research within is “Turning Points in History.”

UW-Eau Claire has hosted the regional contest for the past 17 years, this year being the 18th.

Janet Seymour and John Mann are the co-coordinators of the event. Seymour is the director of outreach in the Office of Programs and Outreach of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Mann is a professor of history and the director of the Public History Program

“The history department has a good working relationship with the Wisconsin Historical Society,” Mann said. “We have its Northern Field Services Office on our campus, so we are a natural host for the regional competition.” 

It is expected that about 200 middle and high school students will compete at UW-Eau Claire this year. According to Mann, this is a great occasion for the university to present the campus and the opportunities for prospective history students available here. 

Among those judging the projects will be current UW-Eau Claire history students and graduate students, as well as members of the community. Mann said evaluations of the entries are based on historical significance, clarity, research quality and how well it relates to the theme.

More specifically, National History Day uses a form with two different categories to judge the projects. “Clarity of Presentation” accounts for 20% of the score, and “Historical Quality” makes up the remaining 80%. 

The awards will be presented to students at 2 p.m. the same day in Schofield Auditorium

“My favorite part is the awards ceremony in Schofield,” Mann said. “The place is packed with people enthusiastic about history.” 

UW-Eau Claire students should expect to see the presenters on campus on Thursday, March 14 as they compete at the regional level.

The next event in the Wisconsin National History Day series is the state competition, which is planned to take place on April 20 in Madison. Following that, the national competition will occur the week of June 9-13 at the University of Maryland. 

The sponsors for the regional competition taking place at UW-Eau Claire include the history department, the Center for History Teaching and Learning, Phi Alpha Theta, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Matczak can be reached at [email protected].

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