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History Day contest held at Zanesville Campus


Ohio University’s Zanesville Campus recently hosted the Region 10 Ohio History Day where 100 students from Dresden Elementary, Sheridan Middle School and Maysville High School presented projects in four categories: exhibits, documentaries, websites and papers with entries in both junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) divisions. 

Zanesville Campus staff and upper-level students served as judges along with area business leaders. “Opportunities like this give students experience presenting the knowledge they gain,” stated Julie Nash, of the Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department, who volunteered as part of her service learning project for Leadership Muskingum. “The one-on-one experience with adults and receiving feedback is always valuable,” she shared.

Linda Hines, teacher and History Day coach from Sheridan Middle School, appreciates that opportunity for her students. “The judges are kind and encouraging, so the students feel successful,” she said. 

Molly Orr, a sixth-grade teacher from Dresden Elementary, had six students participate in the regional contest. “They get to learn academic skills they will use in the future,” she stated. “And, they are encouraged to share their projects with the rest of the class, which enhances their confidence and presentation skills.”

Ohio History Day is led by the Ohio History Connection and is an affiliate of the award-winning National History Day program. Ohio History Day contests for grades 6-12 are divided into three tiers: regional, state and national. All students must qualify by advancing from the regional to the state level. The Youth Division is for students in grades 4-5. Students participating in the Youth Division only compete at the state level. The 2017 National History Day (NHD) theme, “Taking a Stand in History,” encourages youth to explore those who have taken risks and taken a stand, whether in a political, social, religious, military, economic, intellectual or artistic sphere. 

Ibrahima Sow, community engagement coordinator of the Ohio History Connection, was on hand to assist with the contest and awards ceremony. “It speaks volumes that these young people are taking value of future studies while still in middle school and high school,” he said. “Their interpretation of what history is provides invaluable insights to all levels of history learning.” 

He went on to explain there are many important things about events like this including the opportunity for students to demonstrate what they learn while interacting with adults who donate their time on a weekend. “The work of both the students and the volunteer judges is appreciated,” Sow stated. “Having the community members serve as judges as well as having the students visit a campus that has as its core value student and community engagement, enhances the level of participation both locally and nationwide.”

“We would love to have teachers encourage students to participate in future events,” stated Morten Bach, Region 10 coordinator and associate lecturer of history at the Zanesville Campus. “I would be happy to come to meet with and talk to educators who want to have their students participate.” He can be reached at bach@ohio.edu

The winners of the Region 10 event will join others from around the state in Delaware, Ohio, for the State Competition on April 29.

Winners of the Region 10 Ohio History Day

The Region 10 winners shown here are now eligible to go on to the state competition, which will be held in Delaware, Ohio, on April 29. They are (from front left) Katie Davis and Aubrey Kaufman, both sixth graders at Dresden Elementary, who took first place in Junior Group website design with their project entitled Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Taking a Stand for Humanity; Arpen Parekh, Jaxson Wood and David Hash, also Dresden Elementary students, who won first place in the Junior Group Exhibit category with their display entitled Huelga! Cesar Chavez Stand for Migrant Workers; Natalie Shriner, Julie Nichols and Keegan Hogan, Sheridan Middle School students, who won third place in the Junior Group Exhibit category with their D-Day project; Madison Parker, who garnered first place in the Junior Individual Exhibit for her The Love Story of Anthony and Cleopatra display, and Kirstyn Gray who took second place in the Junior Individual Exhibit for her exhibit entitled G Galilei: Taking a Stand against the Church, both Sheridan Middle School students.

In the back row are Dresden Elementary student, Anna Scheurman, who won first place in the Junior Individual Documentary category with her project entitled Helen Keller Takes a Stand to Change Attitudes toward the Disabled; Maysville High School students Julia Curtis and Caleb DeLong (Taylor Conrad, not pictured) with their project The Original Attack Dog; Emily DeVary, of Sheridan Middle School, third place in with her project The Rockford Peaches; Maysville High School’s Cody Adams, first place in the Senior Individual Website category; Sheridan Middle School students Laurel Allen and Gabe Emmert, second place in the Junior Group Exhibit category for their project entitled I Have a Dream – Martin’s Speech; Sierra Chambers, first place in the Senior Group Exhibit category with a project entitled A First Lady to Take a Stand: Eleanor Roosevelt, which she did with fellow Maysville High School student Georgia Milam (not pictured); and Maysville High School student, Miranda Printz, second place in the Senior Individual Exhibit category with her project entitled Four Paws Take a Stand: The Fight for Dog’s Rights.

Also receiving awards, but not available for the photo are Maysville High School students in two categories. Senior Individual Exhibit category winners were Chloe Joseph, first place with her project Charles Darwin Takes an Evolutionary Stand and third place winner, Rachel Hammp with her project, Taking a Stand in Education. The Senior Group Exhibit second place winners were Cammie Bunting, Bayley Reed, and Grace Gebhardt with their project entitled Truth is Powerful and It Prevails. Third place recipients in the same category were Sydney Joseph and MacKenzie Rine with their project entitled Taylor takes a Stand against Racism. 

Students share their excitement about History Day event

The benefits of participating in National History Day are many. “I love the fact that my students are wide open in the theme,” Linda Hines of Sheridan Middle School said. “The experience is important to allow the students to explore and embrace a particular topic. They’ll love Social Studies if you let them.”

Hailee Knapp and Kayla Holden, both Sheridan Middle School students, are two such students. They researched Lois Jenson for their project. “We started earlier this year,” explained, Knapp. “We wanted to do Malala, but her story was not old enough.”

Hailee Knapp (left) and Kayla Holden pose by their exhibit display following judging at the Region 10 History Day competition.

Hailee Knapp (left) and Kayla Holden pose by their exhibit display following judging at the Region 10 History Day competition.

As the girls searched for an alternative they came across Jenson’s sexual harassment case. They shared that because there were current issues related to the topic in their community, they were interested in learning more. 

“It doesn’t matter the topic, you can relate it metaphorically,” Holden stated. “I really like that we get to learn about other topics not just what is taught in class.” Knapp, who plans to be an attorney, agreed adding, “Lois Jenson’s story isn’t well known, but she’s the reason when I get older I’ll be able to work in an environment with men and not be threatened.” 

A takeaway for these two students is that Jenson just wanted an apology, but it took the class action suit to make that happen. The two eighth graders found it interesting to note that Jenson’s story, while not well known, was portrayed in both a book, “Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law,” and a related movie, “North Country,” which they recommend to others to learn more about this influential woman.

Molly Orr, sixth-grade teacher at Dresden Elementary, says for her students the National History Day project is optional. “They choose the topics, do the research and then choose the medium that they’ll present,” Orr shared. “This year we had one group exhibit, one individual documentary and one website project.”

Molly Orr, sixth-grade teacher at Dresden Elementary, (center) had six students participate in the Region 10 contest including (from left) Jaxson Wood, Arpen Parekh, Anna Scheurman, Katie Davis and Aubrey Kaufman.

Molly Orr, sixth-grade teacher at Dresden Elementary, (center) had six students participate in the Region 10 contest including (from left) Jaxson Wood, Arpen Parekh, Anna Scheurman, Katie Davis and Aubrey Kaufman.

Katie Davis and Aubrey Kaufman, Orr’s students, who took first place in Junior Group website design with their project entitled Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Taking a Stand for Humanity, were excited to learn not only about their topic, but about how to technology. 

“Finding primary sources was a challenge for them,” stated Ashley Kaufman, Aubrey’s mother. “They used technology not only for the project, but to do the research.” Aubrey explained that because their topic was related to the Holocaust, the team found it difficult to find primary sources because so many of the interviews they saw were considered secretive. “They had to determine the difference between primary and secondary sources throughout the process,” Kaufman said of the girls’ efforts. 

“They did this project staying after school to do the work and worked well as a team” said Ruth Davis, Katie’s mother. Kate’s father, Luke added, “They also learned valuable aspects about history that aren’t part of the curriculum.”

Morten Bach, Region 10 event coordinator and associate lecturer of history at the Zanesville Campus, and Ibrahima Sow, community engagement coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, award Aubrey Kaufman and Katie Davis first place for their project.

Morten Bach, Region 10 event coordinator and associate lecturer of history at the Zanesville Campus, (far left) and Ibrahima Sow, community engagement coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, award Aubrey Kaufman and Katie Davis first place for their project entitled Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Taking a Stand for Humanity.

“I liked learning about the theological views,” Katie shared. She also appreciated the opportunity to use technology like Face Time to collaborate with her friend on the project. She also found learning about website design principles like succinct language and organization of the content beneficial. “We can use these skills in the future,” she said. 

Aubrey agreed stating, “Doing the website was cool because we got to figure out something new, like how to create a works cited list, which will be helpful to learn for future grades and in college.” 

This type of interest in history is exactly what the Region 10 Coordinator and Associate Lecturer of History at the Zanesville Campus, Morten Bach, hoped for when he accepted the invitation to revitalize the competition in the region last year. “The students who participate, really like it,” Bach shared. “It is not only relevant, but interesting to the students to research topics that resonate with them and share what they learn.”