Colleges promote ‘National History Day’ competition

Published 9:28 am Saturday, February 14, 2015

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye East Tennessee State University's Dr. Daryl Carter, left, discusses the upcoming National History Day Competition with Tusculum College's  Dr. Nancy Moody, Dollie Boyd, and Dr. Ronald May. The competition is a joint partnership between ETSU and Tusculum.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
East Tennessee State University’s Dr. Daryl Carter, left, discusses the upcoming National History Day Competition with Tusculum College’s Dr. Nancy Moody, Dollie Boyd, and Dr. Ronald May. The competition is a joint partnership between ETSU and Tusculum.

East Tennessee State University and Tusculum College are joining forces in a historic partnership to help bring National History Day to students throughout Northeast Tennessee.

National History Day is a competition for middle and high school students to showcase their knowledge and skills in the field of history while developing skills they will need to succeed in the future.

“History Day is a wonderful and powerful way in which students, teachers and the community can become involved to not only celebrate history, but to promote our children’s future,” said Dr. Daryl A. Carter, an associate professor and graduate coordinator in the ETSU Department of History. Carter, who serves as coordinator of the Northeast Tennessee District for NHD, said History Day has been a national event for nearly 40 years.

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Students who participate in the event can learn important and life-long lessons, Carter said, adding that he personally participated in NHD events as he worked toward his own education.

“I am so excited to bring History Day to ETSU,” Carter said.

Tennessee is divided into six districts for the NHD competition: Northeast, East, Southeast, North Middle, Middle and West. The 10 Northeast Tennessee District counties are further divided into East and West.  The East Division, assisted by ETSU, consists of Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties, and the West Division, assisted by Tusculum College, is made up of Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock and Hawkins counties.

This partnership between ETSU and Tusculum College will allow for greater participation by area students in this national event, Carter said.

“I am very pleased, that at Tusculum College, we have been involved in hosting History Day for the last 10 years,” said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College.  “We are pleased that this collaborative partnership with ETSU will give more students in our region the opportunity to learn history while developing valuable research, writing and public speaking skills that will greatly benefit them throughout their lives.”

“Tusculum College looks very forward to this collaboration with East Tennessee State University,” Moody added.

ETSU’s own President Brian Noland echoed Moody’s sentiment, saying he is pleased with the “spirit of partnership” between the two schools.

“We are only as strong as our partners and peers across the region,” Noland said.

This year, that competition will take place on the campus of ETSU on Wednesday, March 4, in the D.P. Culp University Center ballroom at 10 a.m. 

The event’s organizers are hoping that by shifting the event to the ETSU campus it will encourage more participation from schools in the region, particularly those who might not have been able to travel all the way to Tusculum College.

“Currently the bulk of the participants are in Greene County and we are hoping to expand the participation,” Tusculum College Director of Museums Dollie Boyd said, adding she has worked with the NHD event at the college.

National History Day has always been a popular event in the Northeast Tennessee district, Boyd said. “The 10 counties in the Northeast District produce more participants than the rest of the state combined,” Boyd said, adding the district has brought home many state awards.

ETSU and Tusculum will be working with teachers and students in all 10 counties to raise awareness of the event, Carter said.

“We are working on long-term efforts to increase participation here,” Carter said. “We feel this will be beneficial to the students. I strongly encourage all teachers to attend this event.”

The theme for this year’s competition is “Leadership and Legacy in History.”

Middle and high school history teachers in Northeast Tennessee have been provided information and guidance to help them support their students in preparation for the event. After conducting research on chosen topics related to the year’s specific theme, participating students are now creating original papers, websites, exhibits, performances or documentaries that illustrate their conclusions regarding their topics’ historical significance.

These projects will be presented and evaluated by historians and educators in competitions during the spring at the local, state and national levels, including the one at ETSU in March. The culminating event is the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest, held each June at the University of Maryland at College Park.

The Northeast District event is funded by a grant from the Niswonger Foundation, with additional funds provided by Sally Harbison, Jones Media and The Greeneville Sun, along with various other sponsors.  It is endorsed by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and by the Tennessee Historical Society, which hosts the state-level competition in April.

For more information on the National History Day event at ETSU, contact Dr. Daryl Carter at 423-439-7429.