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Maryland students chosen to compete in National History Day Competition

Sixty-eight students advance; eighty-two receive special awards

5/15/2015, 11 a.m.
More than 600 talented middle and high students, along with their proud parents and teachers, converged on the campus of ...
Mack Godfrey, representing exhibits category sponsor Columbia Gas of Maryland, with Maya McAfee and Aaliyah Beckles of Accokeek Academy in Prince George’s County following their victory for “Helen Keller: A Fight for a World without Sound and Sight.” (Photo: Mitro Hood)

— More than 600 talented middle and high students, along with their proud parents and teachers, converged on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Saturday, May 2, 2015 to compete in the annual Maryland History Day state contest. Representing 10 counties and Baltimore City, 68 students were selected to advance to the National History Day competition. Additionally, 82 students won special awards at the contest.

A program of the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) now in its 15th year, the statewide competition involves nearly 23,000 students at the school level, representing 18 counties and Baltimore City. Students research topics that address the National History Day theme and participate in school and county competitions to qualify for the state contest. The 2015 theme is “Leadership and Legacy.”

Winners were chosen at their district level for both individual and group efforts from five different categories— research papers, exhibits, performances, websites and documentaries. First and second place winners will represent Maryland at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition June 14–18, 2015 at the University of Maryland, College Park. Students from Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City will represent Maryland at the national contest.

Students conducted in-depth research over several months, delving into primary and secondary sources and conducting interviews with experts. Topics ranged from national themes such as “Frances Perkins–The Mother of Social Security” and “Woody Guthrie: How His Protest Music Helped Change History,” to local topics such as “Harriet Tubman: Conducting the Fight for Freedom in Maryland” and “The Legacy of the Baltimore Fire–The Mayor’s Leadership 1904.”

Students also addressed issues related to science and technology, such as “Smallpox Eradication: The End of a Disease and the Beginning of a New Era in Public Health,” “Alan Turing: The Things No One Could Imagine,” and “George Eastman: Establishing the Camera as the American Documenter.” Projects that focused on the contributions of women included “Madame C. J. Walker: The First Self-Made Female Millionaire,” “Evita: Opening New Horizons for Women, Workers and Impoverished Argentina,” and “Marie Curie: The Mother of Radioactivity.”

Special Prizes and Teacher Awards In addition to first and second place medals, 41 special prize plaques and cash awards were presented to students during the awards ceremony. Teachers in 12 counties and Baltimore City also received district awards, and three teachers received statewide recognition. RaeLynne Snyder, Social Studies Specialist with the Baltimore City Public Schools, received the Educator of Distinction Award. The Patricia Behring Middle School Teacher of the Year for Maryland was awarded to Leah Olsen of Stephen Decatur Middle School in Worcester County. Sara Romeyn of Bullis School in Montgomery County received the Patricia Behring High School History Day Teacher of the Year for Maryland.

A complete list of advancers, special prizewinners, and teacher awards is available at www.mdhc.org. Maryland History Day is made possible with generous support from the Maryland State Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Abell Foundation. Columbia Gas of Maryland, Whiting-Turner, and Ziger/Snead Architects sponsored specific award categories.