National competition for student changes the rules because of Covid- 19

National History Day

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The National History Day competition is held every year for over 600,000 middle and high school student and teachers.

Students spend several months researching, interviewing people who have lived through historical moments, and visit historical sites to get a final research project to present in front of judges.

“This project overall is the most important thing I do as an educator, as a teacher," says George Knips, Social Studies Teacher at North Brunswick High School. “Bringing this into the classroom, it really kind of gets them out of the classroom, which doesn’t really happen in American schools the way maybe it should.”

Many of the students work individually, but also in groups and then present their work in front of judges.

Students create a variety of different projects, including a documentary, historical theater, a website, exhibit or even just a traditional paper.

It starts at the local level, then goes to state and then the national competition in Washington D.C.

But Covid-19 has halted the face to face interaction.

“A big part of going is going to go see your competitors and it’s not so much of me going to just go meet people," says Sarah Harris, Senior at North Brunswick High School. "I mean, I’m very social. I just went to talk to my you know, people I was competing with so it was really just heartbreaking.”

The competition is still going, but everything is now virtual.

“We’ve had to try to figure out ways to make certain that those kids can still participate virtually,” says Executive Director of National History Day Cathy Gorn. “So now it comes down to taking photos and showing us their scripts and having the judges read those scripts and look at the photos and that sort of thing. The challenge I think is for the kids. The fun part comes when they get to show off and talk to one another and see what the others are doing, you know, and be in your performance room.”

The competition will go until June and the winners will be receiving their congratulations for all their hard work over video conference.

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