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UW-Green Bay to welcome 400 students for National History Day competition

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The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will host the Northeastern Wisconsin Region’s National History Day competition Saturday, April 6, marking the 11th consecutive year the event has been held on campus.

The competition will welcome approximately 400 middle and high school students from 23 schools throughout the region, who will showcase projects on topics ranging from Vince Lombardi and football’s color barrier to Lucille Ball, Title IX and the Civil Rights movement. The theme for National History Day 2013 is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas and Events,” and students are approaching their projects in a variety of innovative ways, said UW-Green Bay archivist Deb Anderson, regional coordinator for National History Day.

“For the people who make National History Day happen, the reward is seeing a student become impassioned about some aspect of history,” Anderson said. “It pushes students in a way and teaches them more than just about the historical facts — it allows them to do critical analysis and critical thinking, which is key, I think, in today’s world of education.”

Students can enter the National History Day competition in a variety of categories, including historical papers, exhibit displays, documentaries, performances and websites. They are required to use primary sources for their project, which often include interviews with individuals who have lived history. This year, for example, a group of middle school students conducted a Skype interview with Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Willie Davis as part of their project on breaking through the color barrier in professional football.

The 2013 National History Day competition will be held in the Kress Events Center and Mary Ann Cofrin Hall at UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive. It is free and open to the public. The all-day event begins with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., with judging taking place from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Awards will be presented in the Kress Events Center at 4 p.m. Winners from the regional competition will move on to the May 4 state contest, and may have the opportunity to compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C. in June. In the past 20 years, more than 5 million students have participated in National History Day competitions throughout the U.S.

In addition to students, families, educators and friends, the regional National History Day competition relies on 120 volunteers to keep it running smoothly, Anderson said. Its financial sponsors are the Brown County Historical Society, the Green Bay-De Pere Antiquarian Society, the Jean Nicolet chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and UW-Green Bay’s Institute for Learning Partnership. The Wisconsin Labor History Association and the Brown County Historical Society will present special prizes during this year’s competition.

For more information on the regional National History Day competition, visit www.uwgb.edu/nationalhistoryday.

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