Eighteen students representing Tennessee were recognized at the 2021 National History Day competition, earning three medals and a special award. In total, 59 middle and high school students from Tennessee participated in the competition, allowing students to showcase their creativity and research skills by developing projects with historical themes.


The theme of this year’s contest was Communication: The Key to Understanding. Tennessee students, some working in groups and some working individually, submitted a total of 36 entries. The students earned the right to compete at National History Day by winning medals at the state contest, Tennessee History Day, organized by the Tennessee Historical Society and co-sponsored by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office and Humanities Tennessee.


The 2021 National History Day honorees from Tennessee are:


4th Place and Outstanding Affiliate Entry from Tennessee, Junior Division
Abigail McKenna
Junior Individual Paper: Common Sense: How One Pamphlet Communicated Ideas That Changed History
Northeast Middle School, Clarksville
Educator: Ryan Darling


6th Place and Outstanding Affiliate Entry from Tennessee, Senior Division
Manal Shala and Naisha Chowdhury
Senior Group Website: Puck: Communication Through Cartoons
Pleasant View School, Memphis
Educator: Andre Clark


6th Place
Ellie Wood and Katia Biegalski
Junior Group Documentary: An Archive to Tell the Whole Truth: The Story of the Ringelblum Archive
Clayton Bradley Academy, Maryville
Educator: Liz Shugart


6th Place
Keya Patel and Sonora Rodriguez
Junior Group Performance: Queen Liliuokalani’s Message of Hope That Touched the World
Clayton Bradley Academy, Maryville
Educator: Nicole Whitecotton


9th Place and National Museum of American History Exhibitors
Alicia Dinwiddie and Jaqueline Dinwiddie
Senior Group Exhibit: Man to Martyr: How Ruben Salazar Communicated a Movement
Summit High School, Spring Hill
Educator: Jackie Zigelsky


National Museum of African American History and Culture Exhibitor
Krishnav Manga
Senior Individual Documentary: Jo Ann Allen Boyce and the Story of the Clinton 12
Lausanne Collegiate School, Memphis
Educator: Amber Colvin


National Museum of Women’s History Virtual Exhibitors
Bergen Erickson and Antoinette Bruce
Junior Group Performance: Harriet Tubman and the Secret Code of the Underground Railroad
Clayton Bradley Academy, Maryville
Educator: Nicole Whitecotton


Captain Ken Coskey Naval History Prize
Jessie Henderson
Senior Individual Documentary: Aerographer’s Mates: Communicating Weather from Sea to Shining Sea
Bradley Central High School, Cleveland
Educator: Julie Mitchell


Honorable Mention
Eve Hutchinson
Junior Individual Performance: Out-Spied: Communication in the Culper Spy Ring
Clayton Bradley Academy, Maryville
Educator: Nicole Whitecotton


Honorable Mention
Brian Moore
Senior Individual Paper: Argonauts of the Sierra: The Romanticization of the Gold Rush
McCallie School, Chattanooga
Educator: Duke Richey


Honorable Mention
Andrew Negus
Senior Individual Website: Sequoyah and the Cherokee Phoenix: How Communication Evolved Cherokee Nationalism
McCallie School, Chattanooga
Educator: Duke Richey


Honorable Mention
Dany Hamze, Evan Lewellyn, Hayley McManic, Malaika Kumar and Risha Manga
Senior Group Performance: Know Your Enemy: The Viet Cong
Lausanne Collegiate School, Memphis
Educator: Amber Colvin


“These students and teachers represented Tennessee well at the national competition,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I commend them on their talent and hard work. I know the knowledge and skills they developed through participating in History Day will serve them for years to come.”


Two Tennessee educators were nominated for the 2021 Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Awards. Nicole Whitecotton of Clayton Bradley Academy in Maryville was recognized as the Junior Division nominee, and Reed Dillard of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga was recognized as the Senior Division nominee.


“NHD students impress me every year,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day Executive Director. “Completing an NHD project is no small feat, and it is even more remarkable given the challenges through which students and teachers have persevered this past school year. I commend all of the students and teachers who participated in National History Day programs across the country and around the world.”


National History Day conducted a virtual competition again this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Students enjoyed a variety of online activities, including a scavenger hunt, sock-hop with live D.J., educational webinars, trivia contest and virtual tours of Washington, D.C. museums. Teachers also had opportunities to attend online professional development.


“The success of this year is a direct result of the hours of work that students invested in their research, crafting their projects, and editing after each level of competition,” said Tennessee History Day coordinator Nikki Ward. “Students used all the resources available to them in this extraordinary year. Their success is for the educators as well, who worked through challenging circumstances.”

Each fall, students and teachers nationwide begin work on the yearlong National History Day curriculum. Starting with competitions held in individual schools, the winners then advance to the district, state and national competition. Nationwide, the History Day program includes more than a half-million students annually from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa and Department of Defense Schools. This year, 7,500 students across Tennessee participated in the program.

For more information about National History Day or Tennessee History Day, visit tennesseehistory.org/tennessee-history-day.