Each year nearly 3,000 students and their parents and teachers from across the country gather at the University of Maryland - College Park for annual week-long finals of the National History Day competition. This year, 63 Connecticut students will be among them when the competition unfolds this week. After selecting a historical topic that relates to an annual theme, students conduct extensive research using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. Students analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topic's significance in history, and create final projects that demonstrate their work.
National History Day is not a predetermined by-the-book program but an innovative curriculum framework in which students learn history by selecting topics of interest and launching into a year-long research project. NHD is a meaningful way for students to study historical issues, ideas, people and events by engaging in historical research.
Following what organizers described as “tremendous participation” at this year's six regional district contests across Connecticut with over 4,000 students participating, and a culminating statewide competition at Central Connecticut State University in April, students in senior and junior divisions will be taking part in the 2014 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest to be held June 15 – 19 in Maryland. (See list of 2014 State Contest Winners.)
Organizers also credited “an immense amount of support from sponsors, volunteer judges, staff and Connecticut legislators. The theme this year is Rights and Responsibilities.
History Day in Connecticut is a program for students in grades 6-12 that encourages exploration of local, state, national, and world history. Participating students come from all over the United States, Guam, American Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and affiliates in China, Korea, and Jakarta.
More information about History Day in Connecticut, and the national competition, is posted at www.historydayct.org. In addition, WFSB-TV recently interviewed a Connecticut competitor. The national event at the University of Maryland will be live streamed.
History Day in Connecticut is led by Connecticut's Old State House, with support from the Connecticut Historical Society, the Connecticut League of History Organizations and Connecticut Humanities' ConnecticutHistory.org website. Major funding is provided by Connecticut Humanities.