UW-Green Bay to host National History Day competition

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will host the 2011 Northeastern Wisconsin Region’s National History Day competition for the eighth consecutive year. The event will be held on Saturday, April 9, and will draw approximately 400 high school and middle school students from 21 schools in Northeast Wisconsin. This year’s competition will be the largest to date.

The event will focus on the theme “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.” The all-day event begins with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by judging from 9:30 to 3:30 p.m. and an awards presentation at the Kress Events Center at 4 p.m.

“National History Day provides students of all abilities and interests an opportunity to learn about a topic of their choosing and present it in a creative way,” said UW-Green Bay archivist Debra Anderson, who is the National History Day regional coordinator.

The projects allow students to dive into research by using diaries, letters, film footage, photos, and oral histories to become experts on their chosen topic. Some students had the opportunity to spend a day at the Cofrin Library using various archival, electronic and print resources.

One student observed, “This is better than the History Channel! I could stay here all day!”

Approximately 226 student projects have been submitted for the competition with topics ranging from the Wisconsin Constitution, Door County cherry farmers to the great Butter vs. Oleo War of the 1950s. Topics even go beyond Wisconsin with projects about the Cuban Missile Crisis, school prayer, women’s suffrage, death penalty, and the 1980 Olympic boycott.

During the day there will be an opportunity for the public to watch performances and documentaries, as well as view exhibits and websites. Exhibits will be displayed at the Kress Events Center. Papers and websites will be available for public display at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall. Documentaries and performances also take place at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall.

It is estimated that 500,000 students this year will take part in History Day events with an estimated five million students taking part in the 20 years the national program has been in existence.

Regional contest winners will move on to the statewide competition and compete for a chance to attend the Kenneth Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. in June.

“You know you have a successful program when a student e-mails and writes: “I would just die if I couldn’t do National History Day this year!” Anderson said.

For more information contact Debra Anderson at UW-Green Bay Archives at (920) 465-2539 or andersod@uwgb.edu.

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