Local students earns honors at National HIstory Day contest

  • Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Moultrie Middle School students (from left) MacKenzie Fowler, Will Basco, Meredith Schilpp and Nina Howard presented their History Day projects at the annual Kenneth E. Behring National History Day contest, PHOTO PROVIDED

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After months of intensive research and success at regional- and affiliate-level competitions, MacKenzie Fowler, Will Basco, Meredith Schilpp and Nina Howard, students at Moultrie Middle School in Mount Pleasant presented their projects at the annual Kenneth E. Behring National History Day contest, held at the University of Maryland College Park Campus in the Washington, D.C. area June 9-13.

Each student had earned first place in their project category at the South Carolina state competition in March. It is exhilarating to see more than 2,800 students from all over the country who have one thing in common: They have all done possibly the hardest work of our lives to share history with each other, said officials with the contest.

Will Basco won the African-American History Award and cash prize. This national level prize is awarded to an outstanding entry whose research and presentation relates to and/or is inspired by the life and times of Dr. Carter G. Woodson. It is sponsored by The Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, National Capital Parks-East, and the National Park Service. Of all the projects at National History Day that was about a turning point in African American history, Basco’s exhibit was named the best for his project on the lynching of the African American 14 year old, Emmett Till. Emmett Till’s murder in 1955 and his death served as the catalyst for the American Civil Rights Movement. “His death and how his mother chose to show everyone what had happened to him caused people of all backgrounds to stand up and take action. This event changed how people felt about equality in our country.” Interestingly, Basco is the same age Emmett Till was when Till was ruthlessly murdered by two white men. “When I heard my name called and began to walk to the stage I was proud of what I accomplished and all that I learned.” states Will Basco. Emmett Till’s mother would be pleased her son’s death will continue to serve as a reminder of the importance of equality in America.

Each fall more than half a million students nationwide begin the year-long National History Day program, competing in a series of history contests in their local schools, regions and affiliates. The top students in each category are selected for participation in the national contest. Participating students choose their own topics of study and research from original sources based on the theme, Turning Points in History. National History Day students research historic documents and artifacts, conduct oral histories, search the Internet for information on their topics, and travel to historic sites. They present their work in a variety of ways, by creating exhibits, documentaries, performances, web sites or historical research papers.

More than 300 historians and other education professionals evaluate the students’ work at the national competition. Approximately $150,000 worth of scholarships were awarded at the national awards ceremony to select students, and approximately 100 students took home cash prizes between $250 and $5,000 for superior work in a particular category of judging.

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