For the fifth year, SUNY Fredonia hosted the regional competition for National History Day. Twenty-eight students from three local schools - Chautauqua Lake Central School, Dunkirk City Schools, and Westfield Academy and Central School - developed projects for the competition.
Students can work either individually or as a group to develop an exhibit, documentary, performance or website. In addition, an individual may choose to write a paper. There are two levels of competition: the junior division, sixth to eighth grade, and the senior level, ninth through twelfth grade.
This year's theme was "Revolution, Reaction, Reform." Each year's theme is meant to be broad so students have a wide range of choices for their projects. Locally, time periods represented were as early as William Wallace (Braveheart) in the 13th century to more modern times represented by a project on 9-11.
According to Dr. Jennifer Hildebrand, who coordinates the local event, "SUNY Fredonia's History Department was very pleased with the turnout, which was our largest yet. There were some truly excellent projects. The students should all be praised for their efforts."
The top two projects in each category were eligible to compete at the state level competition which is held in Cooperstown each year. In addition to selecting the winning projects, the judges spend a considerable amount of time critiquing the projects and offering advice for improvement. The students are given the judges' written comments. Students who go on to the state level often rework their projects to improve them based on those comments.
Veteran History Day participant Haleigh Hoebener, placed second in Cooperstown this year, qualifying her to go to the National Competition June 10 through 14 at the University of Maryland.
Each year more than half a million elementary and secondary students participate in the National History Day contest. Students come from across the United States, American Samoa, Guam, International Schools and Department of Defense Schools.
The local competition is for students in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties and is funded by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (Dr. John Kijinski) and the History Department
Hildebrand wants the event to continue to grow and encourages teachers or parents to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 673-3274. Once the national competition is finished, the theme for next year's History Day will be announced.