Research Papers for National History Day

March 2, 2015

Students in Ms. Chesley’s English 2 Honors and Mr. McConnell’s American History Honors classes had the opportunity to write research papers for the National History Day district competition in Kearney this month. 

The students selected a famous American for this year’s NHD theme of Leader and Legacy.  The requirements for this project were to choose and investigate a topic, to collect both primary and secondary resources, to analyze connections between individuals and the movements with which they were associated, and to effectively communicate the individual’s significance.  Essentially students needed to show how their selected individuals were leaders and how these individuals left legacies or marks on history.

Participants in National History Day can submit projects under a variety of categories including individual or group website, documentary, performance, or exhibit.  However, to meet the requirements of English 2 Honors the students wrote papers for the Historical Paper category.  Each student needed to select a famous American, search for appropriate resources, write an annotated bibliography divided by primary and secondary sources, and finally, write a research paper of between 1,500 and 2,500 words.

Some students found famous Nebraskans to write about including Leah Treffer’s choice of George Beadle, Trey Fago’s choice of Grace Abbott, and Ana Hernandez’s choice of Joyce B. Hall, founder of Hallmark.  Other students wrote about famous Americans, mostly deceased, such as Lili Fattig’s choice of Walt Disney, Anabel Gonzalez’s choice of Frederick Douglass, and Adrian Gomez’s choice of Steve Jobs. 

Students had to then register on the NHD site and submit their paper electronically to the district coordinator of the NHD contest, Dr. James Rohrer at UNK’s Department of History.  On March 11, students will travel to the UNK campus where they will meet individually with members of the UNK History Department for a private interview about their selection and their research process.  The history professors will provide each student with an evaluation and rubric, giving them valuable feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their individual efforts.

Thirty-four students completed and submitted historical papers at the deadline.