Local students shine at National History Day

Betsy PickleOur Town Youth

Seven students from Knox and Blount counties were among the 13 Tennessee students who took top honors at the 2019 National History Day competition held at the University of Maryland at College Park.

This year’s theme was “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Projects were accepted as documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances and websites.

A total of 56 Tennessee middle and high school students earned the right to compete at National History Day earlier this month by winning medals at the state contest, Tennessee History Day, in April. Competing nationally:

  • Tate Greene and Shelby McNeal from Clayton-Bradley Academy in Maryville won second place, Senior Group Documentary with “For I Was Dying: The Triumph and Tragedy of Ms. Eula Hall.” Tate and Shelby’s teacher is Liz Shugart.
  • Rena Lui of Farragut High School won third place, Senior Individual Paper for “The My Lai Massacre: The Tragedy and Its Triumphs.” Rena’s teacher is Angela Breeding.
  • Sophie Anderson and Piper Greene of Clayton-Bradley Academy won Outstanding State Entry, Junior Division, Junior Group Documentary for “The Malaria Project: The Secret Triumph and Tragedy of Modern Medicine.” Sophie and Piper’s teacher is Nicole Whitecotton.
  • Francisco Camacho and Riley Whitecotton of Clayton-Bradley Academy won Best Project, Discovery or Exploration in History, Senior Group Documentary for “X Marks the Spot: The Rosalind Franklin Story.” Francisco and Riley’s teacher is Liz Shugart.

In addition, two area educators were recognized with nominations for the 2019 Hannah E. “Liz” MacGregor Teacher Award: Debbie Slack of Morgan County Schools and Rachel Frazier of Lenoir City High School. Each received a framed certificate and $50.

In a press release, Secretary of State Tre Hargett said of the 13 Tennessee winners, “I’m proud of these students for demonstrating excellence on a national stage and representing Tennessee so well. I know they will carry forward the lessons learned from their subjects and their efforts to put these projects together as they advance through their education and into their careers.”

Tennessee History Day coordinator Jennifer C. Core said, “Our outstanding performance this year is a direct result of the many hours of hard work the students invested in their research. The History Day competition cycle allows the students to revise their projects, based on feedback from the judges. Our students continued to work on their entries even after school ended for the semester, and their efforts were rewarded.”

The History Day curriculum begins in the fall. Competitions start in the individual schools, with winners advancing to district, state and, in the best cases, the national competition. Tennessee’s program engages 8,300 students from across the state.

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