Tennessee Students Excel at National History Day

Monday, June 22, 2020
Tennessee Historical Society Tennessee History Day logo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Seven Tennessee students took top honors at the 2020 National History Day competition, winning three medals and two special awards. In total, 69 middle and high school students represented Tennessee in the competition, which allows students to showcase their creativity and research skills by developing projects with historical themes.

The theme of this year's contest was Breaking Barriers in History. Tennessee students, working in groups or individually, submitted 36 entries. These students earned the right to compete at National History Day by winning medals at the state contest, Tennessee History Day, which is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society and co-sponsored by the Tennessee Secretary of State's office and Humanities Tennessee.

The 2020 National History Day honorees from Tennessee are:

3rd Place Overall
Alicia Dinwiddie
Senior Individual Exhibit: Mendez v. Westminster: The Trailblazer that Led the Way to School Desegregation
Summit High School, Spring Hill
Teacher: Jackie Zigelsky

Irish or Irish-American History Award
A.J. Camacho, Campbell Koella and Hannah Rasmussen
Senior Group Exhibit: The Erie Canal: Breaking the Barrier to the West
Clayton-Bradley Academy, Maryville
Teacher: Liz Shugart

Captain Ken Coskey Naval History Prize
Jessie Henderson
Senior Individual Documentary: “Unwelcomed Soldiers Invading a Fraternity”: Breaking Gender Barriers in the United States Military
Bradley Central High School, Cleveland
Teacher: Julie Mitchell

Outstanding State Entry, Senior Division
Tate Greene
Senior Individual Documentary: Appalachian Voices and Visions: 50 Years of Breaking Barriers Through Film
Clayton-Bradley Academy, Maryville
Teacher: Liz Shugart

Outstanding State Entry, Junior Division
Mackenzie Egan
Junior Individual Performance: Fertility Breakthrough! IVF and The First Test Tube Baby
Gladeville Middle School, Mount Juliet
Teacher: Amy Wilken

“Congratulations to these outstanding students for representing Tennessee so well during these unprecedented times,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “By taking home honors in this national competition, our students demonstrated expert knowledge in their chosen topics, and I have no doubt they will carry this experience with them for years to come.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, National History Day conducted a virtual competition this year. Students enjoyed a variety of activities, including an online scavenger hunt, writing development webinars, and virtual tours of Washington, D.C. museums.

“Our outstanding performance this year is a direct result of the many hours of hard work the students invested in their research,” said Tennessee History Day coordinator Jennifer C. Core. “The History Day competition cycle allows the students to revise their projects, based on feedback from the judges. Our students continued to work on their entries even after tornados and COVID-19 restrictions caused state-wide school closures, and their efforts were rewarded.”

Rebecca Verner of Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School, Nashville, Davidson County, was recognized as the 2020 Patricia Behring Tennessee Educator of the Year.

Calvin Shaw of Pleasant View School, Memphis, Shelby County, was recognized as the 2020 Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Tennessee Educator of the Year.

National History Day is a yearlong program which starts each fall with competitions held in individual schools. Winners advance to district, state and eventually the national competition. Nationwide, the History Day program includes more than a half million students annually from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa and Department of Defense Schools. The program engages 8,300 students across the state of Tennessee.

For more information about National History Day or Tennessee History Day, please visit tennesseehistory.org/tennessee-history-day.