Southeast Missouri State University student publication

History Day returns to Southeast campus

Sunday, March 6, 2022
Local middle and high school students present exhibits at the 2019 History Day competition. Students can work on projects individually or as a team in five categories.
Photo submitted by Katharine Lee

For the first time since 2019, the National History Day Regional Contest will hold in-person competitions at the University Center on March 11.

At SEMO, the contest serves as a tool to help middle and high school students find topics in history they’re interested in. History Day administrative team member Katharine Lee said SEMO’s contest is the oldest in Missouri, since its start in 1980.

This year’s theme is, “Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.” The themes are selected by a committee at the National Archives.

The committee required participating schools to have their own competitions to select the top five projects from their school, to help scale back the number of projects to be judged. The top three projects from each award category advance to the state level.

The students can participate individually or as part of a group, in documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website categories. Performance and exhibit categories are judged the day of the contest, while the other categories are judged the week prior.

“We’re encouraging both faculty and student participants, but then also the middle and high school students to think about the fact that history is a discipline that overlaps into many other disciplines,” Lee said. “While these are history projects, they can overlap into political science, or into communications or into the arts.”

The contest expanded this year as members from each department of the College of Humanities and Social Studies helped to organize and judge the event. Southeast students also volunteered to judge the event from departments in the college as well as from the Education department.

Any student with an interest can judge future contests. Public history graduate student and volunteer recruiter Allyson Ingli said she’s excited to see students participating in the contest.

“I like seeing what they’ve done and how future generations are learning history and presenting history,” Ingli said. “And I always love to serve in that mentorship capacity, so as a judge I’d be able to say ‘Hey, this is great. Have you thought about this angle yet?’”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 contest was canceled entirely, and the 2021 contest was hosted virtually. Social studies secondary education senior Adam Walker helped judge the contest virtually in 2021 and said he enjoyed the experience, so he decided to judge again.

“They needed judges for it and I did it last year,” Walker said. “With all the COVID stuff, it was pretty easy to do online, so I figured it was worth a shot. I liked it last year, so I’m going to do it again this year.”

Lee said that the public is welcome to visit the exhibits and watch the performances during the contest on March 11. Schedules will be posted in the University Center on the day of the contest.