New Hampshire middle and high school students anticipate another national win, after placing first and second at the National History Day (NHD) state competition, held at Plymouth State University March 13.
PSU is the host and sponsor of the state organization, coordinated by Associate Professor Patrick May and Assistant Professor John Krueckeberg of the social science department. The NHD program promotes the study of history by engaging students and teachers in historical inquiry and creative presentation.
It is especially meaningful to Plymouth State to host this competition, as 2003 was the first time in nearly a dozen years that New Hampshire students were able to participate in NHD. May and Krueckeberg were instrumental in bringing National History Day back to New Hampshire—and last year, New Hampshire took top honors at the NHD national finals.
“The regional office visited our state competition to award students with the ‘NARA.’ These projects are accepted by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA)—the largest library in the world,” says Krueckeberg. “The NARA award is given to students who use good primary sources. That’s really the heart of history.”
One of these awards was given to A Walk Down Memory Lane: 1950s Exploration of Fashion by Ashley Wheeler, Caroline Carlson and Erin Gleeson of Elm Street Junior High in Nashua. Wheeler says, “We researched women’s fashion in the 1950s, the role of women and how popular fashion affected them.”
William Allen of Milford High School was another NARA recipient, with his documentary Harriet Wilson and Her Search for Freedom: The Exploration, Encounter and Exchange of Racism in the White North. Krueckeberg says, “I learned that this student called professors at the University of New Hampshire and spoke to the director of African studies at Harvard University to get information for his project.”
“This is a good experience for young students because they’re not only hearing about history, they’re doing it. They get excited about picking their own topic,” says May.
The following schools competed in this year’s state competition: Milford High School, New Hampton School, Newfound High School, Charlotte Elementary and Elm Street Junior High of Nashua. The national competition will be held during June in Washington, D.C.
NHD in New Hampshire receives funding from the Springer Foundation and the New Hampshire Council for the Social Studies.
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