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April 02. 2013 8:54PM

Plymouth State University to host student history competition

PLYMOUTH - Students from 18 schools will be competing to advance to the national championships on Saturday in Plymouth State University's National History Day competition.

The competition, which has been hosted by the university since 2003, will have its largest-ever group of student competitors this year, and it's expected to be an exciting competition, said Plymouth State Professor of History Dr. John Krueckeberg.

The contest provides a showcase for New Hampshire students in grades 6-12, who enjoy studying history and social studies, Krueckeberg said.

At the same time, it gives the university's education students real-world experience with students that they can use when they become teachers.

"The students have a great time, they are full of excitement about history, as are all of us," Krueckeberg said.

This years' theme is "Turning Points in History." Students may choose a topic concerning the history of any time period of world history.

"Projects usually cover a broad range of interesting topics, from the local history of a New England company or personality, to the classic events of ancient history," he said. "What makes this national history day is the fact that students around our country are engaging this award-winning and free curricular program all in the same month; spending the day presenting their history and defending it to a team of judges."

To prepare for the competition, students choose historical topics related to the theme and conduct research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites.

At the competition, they present their work in original papers, web sites, exhibits, performances and documentaries.

A few of this year's 100 entries include a paper on the Weeks Act as a turning point in the history of New Hampshire's White Mountains, a web site on the battle of Midway, and a performance on Edward Jenner and the smallpox vaccination.

The top three projects will win medals and the top two projects in each group - junior (grades 6-8) or senior (grades 9-12) - qualify for the national competition in June at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Special awards also will be given for New Hampshire history and New England history.

Judging begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Hartman Union Building and Hyde Hall.

Documentaries and performances are open to the public, and judging interviews end at lunchtime.

The exhibit hall is open to the public from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m., after which the awards ceremony commences. At 2 p.m., keynote speaker Professor Emeritus Richard Hesse will offer a "Humanities to Go" presentation on the Founding Generation and the U.S. Constitution as a turning point in history.

dseufert@newstote.com


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