Thirty-three students from across the state won special awards during the recent district competitions for Tennessee History Day, which will be held in Nashville next month.
National History Day (NHD) is an annual event in which middle and high school students prepare research papers, websites, exhibits, documentaries and performances on topics of historical interest. The goal of NHD is to help students develop an interest in and appreciation for history outside of a traditional classroom setting.
Schools across the state send their students with the best projects to one of six district competitions. The top finishers in each category at the district competitions advance to Tennessee History Day, a statewide event that will be held in Nashville on April 11.
The top finishers in the statewide competition will be eligible to participate in the National History Day competition, which will be held in College Park, Maryland this summer.
In addition to the categories based on grade level and type of project, some districts also issue special awards based on specific areas of interest.
“I love seeing the wide range of topics the students research,” said the program's state coordinator Jennifer C. Core. “Just a glance through the titles of these award-winning entries shows the ingenuity of the students.”
Logan Emory and Aaron Johns, students at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg, collected three special awards for their exhibit titled, "A True Tennessee Temptress: Sarah Lane Thompson's Legacy." Logan and Aaron won a Dan and Mary Shannon Award for Outstanding Use of Primary Sources, a Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Award, and the East Tennessee History Award.
The other special award winners were:
Deanna Upchurch, a student at Watertown High School, who received the Judy Butler Award for Best Entry in Science History for her documentary titled, "Where Death Delights to Help the Living: Pioneers of Forensic Science."
Jack Hines, Jack Arnold, Webb Bankemper and Parker Greenwood, students at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, won the Lon R. Nuell Award for Theme of Holocaust History for their documentary titled, "The Ethics of Medical Science throughout the 20th Century."
Angel Cox, a student at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, won the Thaddeus M. Smith Award for Best Entry on African-American History for an individual performance titled, “X.”
Nyamal Tuor, a student at Portland High School, won the Women's History Award for a documentary titled, "Simple Leadership, Luminous Legacy: Mother Teresa."
Michaela Williamson, a student at Cosby High School, won a Best Entry in American History award for a documentary titled, "The Legend of Nolichucky Jack: Lessons in Leadership from John Sevier."
Samuel Van Amberg, a student at Heritage Home Scholars in Greeneville, won a Best Entry in American History award for his research paper titled, "El Libertador: The Actions of Simone Bolivar and Their Consequences."
Mariah Roach, Kelsey Osborne, Leslie Guinn, Merzedez Miller and Adam Hamer, students at Mosheim Elementary School, won the Best Entry in Tennessee History award for their group performance titled, “Andrew Johnson.”
Kaylyn Crossland, Sydney McDonald and Rebecca Cox, students at Debusk Elementary School in Greeneville, won a Best Entry in Women's History award for their performance titled, "Thumbs Up for Women's Rights."
Kendall Williamson, a student at Cosby High School, won a Best Entry in Women's History award for a website titled, "Minnie Pearl: The Legacy of the Howdy."
Alex Dally, Eleni Christopoulos, Kate Gleason and Olivia Escher, students at St. John Neumann School in Knoxville, won a Dan and Mary Shannon Award for Outstanding Use of Primary Sources for their documentary titled, "Truman's Leadership and Legacy."
Madison Moats, a student at Lenoir City High School, won a Dan and Mary Shannon Award for Outstanding Use of Primary Sources for a performance titled, "Anne Dallas Dudley."
Noah Smith, a student at L & N Stem Academy in Knoxville, won a Dan and Mary Shannon Award for Outstanding Use of Primary Sources for an exhibit titled, "Adolf Hitler: The Power of Persuasion."
Whitley Hoffner, a student at New Center Elementary School in Sevierville, won a Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Award for an exhibit titled, "Angel of the Battlefield: The Leadership and Legacy of Clara Barton."
Jeremiah Branson, Justin Cross, Noah Dunlap and Noah Watson, students at L & N Stem Academy in Knoxville, won a Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Award for their exhibit titled, "'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!' Admiral David Farragut Leads the Union Navy to Victory."
Eli Neal and Lauren Graves, students at First Baptist Academy in Powell, won the Sequoyah Award for a group performance titled, "Nanye-hi, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee."
"I congratulate all of the special awards winners and all the students who have qualified to participate in Tennessee History Day next month," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "History Day teaches students skills that will help them as they continue their education and in their professional lives after they finish school. Studies have also shown that History Day participants are more likely to be actively engaged in civic affairs after they reach adulthood. So not only is History Day a lot of fun, but participants can receive great benefits in the future."
The Secretary of State's office is one of Tennessee History Day's sponsors. The event is coordinated by the Tennessee Historical Society, the state affiliate of National History Day.