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Utah History Day Competition Opens Windows on Past and Present
SALT LAKE CITY — What does it mean to stand up for a cause you believe in? Can one person change the world for the better? For the worse?
The 6,000-plus students who participated in Utah’s National History Day program this year have some good answers to these questions. Based on the theme “Taking a Stand in History,” these young Utahns conducted extensive historical research on people ranging from Susan B. Anthony to Nelson Mandela, from Utah’s Col. Gail Halvorsen to WWII resistance fighters. They then created exhibits, performances, documentary films, websites, and papers to showcase their work.
On Saturday, April 29, 400 middle- and high-school students will compete in the Utah History Day State Contest at Hillcrest Junior High in Murray after qualifying during regional contests this spring. State champions will represent Utah at the National History Day competition in Washington, D.C., this June.
More than half a million students worldwide participate in National History Day every year. In Utah, the program is available statewide, with regional competitions in Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake, Orem, Price, Roosevelt, Beaver, St. George, and Blanding. Whether they live in rural or urban areas, or attend private or public schools, History Day students gain a deeper understanding of both the past and the present through their work.
“History Day offers teachers a powerful way to interest today’s kids in history and develop a sense of civic engagement,” said Dr. Wendy Rex-Atzet, Utah History Day State Coordinator. “Students gain concrete skills in research, reading, writing, critical thinking, and creative presentation. This skill set translates to kids who are better prepared for college and careers.”
Utah History Day (formerly called Utah History Fair) has operated continuously in Utah since 1980 and is the official National History Day affiliate program for the state. Originally developed and housed at Utah State University, the program was transferred in 2014 to the Utah Division of State History.
“We could not be happier to provide a home for Utah’s National History Day program,” Division of State History Director Brad Westwood said. “Students from any community in Utah can participate, which helps cultivate a lifelong appreciation of history and heritage in our young people.”
What: Utah History Day State Contest
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2017.
Peak hours: 9:00-11:00. Award ceremony 4:00-5:00.
Where: Hillcrest Junior High School, 126 E. 5300 S., Murray, Utah
Coverage opportunities: Media outlets can attend and take photos or videos of the students making presentations as well as during the award ceremony. Interviews with students and advisors should be coordinated through Josh Loftin or Wendy Rex-Atzet (firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-245-7253). More details about Utah History Day and National History Day can be found at history.utah.gov/utah-history-day.