Each March, hundreds of students from across the region participate in National History Day (NHD) –  like the science fair for history!  For the past two years, 8th grade history students at the Academy have participated as a course requirement and 6th and 7th grade students could earn extra credit for entering.

The students begin by selecting a topic of interest to them and then choose the best way to present their information – paper, performance, exhibit, documentary, or website.  By allowing them to choose their topic and presentation method, students are more likely to be passionate about the project.  This is important because the next step is research (insert foreboding, “Jaws”theme music here).  With help from the MS/US librarian, Heather Shumaker, we educate the students on the importance of finding reliable sources, identifying primary and secondary sources, and identifying multiple types of sources.  It is important for NHD to show the judges a depth and breadth of knowledge.

The final step in the process is to take their research and turn it into a project.  The true benefit of this project, in my opinion, is the opportunity to present and defend their work in front of college professors, graduate students, and respected members of the community.  How often can students in Middle School say they’ve presented in front of such a distinguished group?  This process makes them realize that they need to truly understand their topic, research methods, and forces them to think quickly on their feet, which will serve them well as they move on in their education – to the Upper School, college, and beyond.

The regional competition was held on Saturday, March 7 at Messiah College.  While everyone is a winner in my book, we did have some students make it past the first round!  In the junior division, group exhibit, Caroline C. ’19, Shawky D. ’19, Raliek L. ’19, and Charlotte N. ’19 placed in the top eight.  In the individual documentary category, Isabelle B. ’20 earned 4th place.  Finally, and most excitingly, www.priceofcialis.com Tal H. ’19 earned 2nd place in the individual documentary category for her piece on Winston Churchill.  Her win means that she will move on to show her documentary at the state competition in May at Millersville University!

So now, mark your calendars for NHD 2016 on Feb. 27, 2016 at Messiah College.  Next year’s theme will be Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.  Please come out and cheer the students on and see all of the amazing projects from around the area.  You are guaranteed to learn something new!