Beginning this week, hundreds of middle and high school students from across the state will compete for the right to participate in Tennessee History Day. History Day is a competition in which students submit projects, either individually or in groups, on historical topics of their choice related to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.”

Students may compete in one of five categories: papers, exhibits, documentaries, websites or performances. Judges evaluate student projects, rank them within their categories and divisions, and provide the students with feedback. Each year, the competition begins in individual schools and continues with six regional competitions held across Tennessee.

Students with the top-ranking projects at the regional competitions will advance to compete in Tennessee History Day, the statewide contest sponsored by the Secretary of State’s office and Humanities Tennessee. The competition is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society.

The regional competition for Middle Tennessee, hosted by the Middle Tennessee State University history department, will be held this Friday. Here are the other regional competitions:

  • The North Middle Tennessee regional, hosted by the Austin Peay State University history department, is scheduled for Feb. 22.
  • The West Tennessee regional, hosted by the University of Memphis history department, is scheduled for Feb. 25.
  • The Southeast Tennessee regional, hosted by the Museum Center at 5ive Points in Cleveland, is scheduled for March 2.
  • The East Tennessee regional, hosted by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, is scheduled for March 3 at the university’s conference center.
  • The Northeast Tennessee regional, hosted by Tusculum College in Greeneville, is scheduled for March 6.

“I believe all students who participate in History Day benefit, regardless of how far they make it in the competition,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “History Day has been proven to help students develop skills that they can use in school and later in their careers. Studies have shown that History Day participants tend to be better informed and more actively engaged as citizens after they become adults.”

Tennessee History Day will be held at various locations in downtown Nashville April 8. The top finishers at that competition will advance to the National History Day finals, which will be held in College Park, Maryland, in June.

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