Important Things to Remember for History Day

By Arielle Swinehart

National History Day is an academic competition for sixth through twelfth graders. Whetstone’s ninth grade humanities class participates in the competition every year. This year’s theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.

After placing twelfth in National History Day last year, I learned a few important things that all participants should remember.

The first is to meet deadlines and not procrastinate.  It’s easy to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” but tomorrow can quickly become the day before the competition. It’s important to manage your time wisely so the work doesn’t build up as time begins to run out.

The second is to make your project stand out. Be creative in your design. The more eye-catching and visually appealing the better. You want the organization of your project to flow and make sense. The point of your project is to draw attention and educate people on the topic you chose. Often times, controversial is better.  

The third is know your stuff. You should be an expert on your topic, considering you’ve been studying it for several months. You should know all the information in your project, as well as your bibliography. You shouldn’t have to look or read off of your project when asked questions or talking about your topic.

The fourth is to make adjustments depending on your judges’ comments. You should improve your project after each competition. You shouldn’t take the judges’ critiques as an insult to your project, rather as a way to improve for the next round.

The fifth, and possibly most important, is to have fun. The competition is long and requires a lot of work, so remember to relax and enjoy your success. No matter what the outcome, History Day is an amazing experience.

Good luck to all the Whetstone freshmen in Humanities!

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