PSU Hosts National History Day in New Hampshire Festivities March 31

March 26th, 2007 by Adam

The civil rights struggle, the rise and fall of a major New Hampshire industry and a heroic uprising in World War II are some of the topics secondary school students will present March 31 at Plymouth State University for “National History Day in New Hampshire.” For the fifth consecutive year, the statewide event will be held at PSU.

“We’re happy to provide students throughout New Hampshire the opportunity to participate in this wonderful program,” said PSU Assistant Professor of Geography, Patrick May, who along with PSU Associate Professor of History, John Krueckeberg coordinate the event. “Its strength is that it allows students to see the breadth of topics within history while also focusing on the importance of interpretation and historical context.”

In its 26th year, the nationwide curriculum program involves over 700,000 students from 49 states who design and complete original research on historical topics relating to an annual theme. This year’s theme is, “Triumph and Tragedy in History.”

Students can work as individuals or in groups with as many as five members. Once they have completed their research, which includes analyzing primary and secondary sources to an annotative bibliography, students present their projects to judges in one of four categories: Paper (10-12 pages in length); Exhibit (a museum-style exhibit, enhancing visual organization); Documentary (10-minute video presentation); or Performance (10-minute original dramatic performance). The theme to this year’s event was announced at the beginning of the school year, and students, with help from school teachers, develop ideas that will allow them to incorporate a wide range of topics based on the theme.

Projects are judged by volunteer historians, based on historical quality, clarity of presentation, and relevance to theme. Following each stage of judging, competitors are allowed to improve their projects based on the judges’ initial review.

Judging and project displays begin at 9 a.m., which is open to the public, as is the awards ceremony, which will be attended by PSU President Sara Jayne Steen. Medals will be awarded to the top three projects in all categories at 3 p.m. in the Heritage Room of Samuel Reed Hall.

All New Hampshire students –– including those who are home-schooled –– are eligible to participate and are divided in Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12) divisions.

The top two qualifiers from each divisional category will represent New Hampshire at the national competition June 10-14 at the University of Maryland campus and have the opportunity to meet over 3,000 students from all across the country.

“This program is also somewhat unique in the way that it builds valuable life skills,” May continued. “Clearly, students develop great skills of research and writing, but it also provides them a chance to practice skills of public presentation, communication of complex ideas, and being interviewed. In many ways, National History Day incorporates the very skills that students will most need in college or the workforce.”

For more information contact Kevin Anderson, PSU Media Relations Specialist, 535-2211, or