National History Day
National History Day (NHD) Georgia is a program of Georgia Humanities and LaGrange College. NHD encourages middle and high school students to engage more deeply in historical research and analysis.
About National History Day Georgia
Over the course of the school year, students select a topic related to a yearly theme and develop their projects through extensive primary and secondary source research. The NHD theme for 2021 is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.
Under the guidance of a sponsoring teacher, students choose both their subject matter and a vehicle to present their research within the following categories: documentary, exhibition, paper, performance, or website. NHD attracts thousands of participants each year, and competitions occur at the regional, state, and national levels. Stay tuned for more information about NHD Georgia’s 2020–2021 local, regional, and state contests.
The National History Day Georgia Topic Explorer
First launched in 2019, the National History Day Georgia Topic Explorer has been redesigned. It now includes more than 40 topic profiles grouped by categories, including individuals, groups, events, literature and media, and history and advocacy.
This online, interactive, and Georgia-inspired topics list is a collaboration between NHD Georgia, the New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE), and the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). Each topic profile includes an image, contextual information from the NGE, and sample primary sources from the DLG. Connect with Georgia history in a new way through the National History Day Georgia Topic Explorer!
“It is inspiring to research and share untold stories with the public. I learned how to do that through National History Day.”
—Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, National History Day alumnus
The National History Day Georgia website offers valuable information. Find answers to common questions and learn how to register for the program here.
Volunteers play a crucial role in National History Day Georgia at every level of competition. Learn more about how you can contribute to the National History Day experience in Georgia as a judge or as a day of event volunteer.
National History Day Georgia News
Student Filmmaker Temple Lester Named for Smithsonian Documentary Showcase
The National Museum of African American History and Culture Selected Lester’s Film for a Smithsonian Learning Lab Showcase
Temple Lester, a student at Midtown International School in Atlanta, was among a select group of middle and high school students who had their National History Day documentaries screened by the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
National History Day (NHD), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and the Smithsonian Learning Lab selected just 35 documentary films, produced by middle and high school students in the 2020 National History Day Contest, to be featured in an online showcase. The films were selected and screened by NMAAHC staff, and premiered Wednesday, June 17, as a special collection of the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
In order to be selected for the showcase, students needed to address topics and stories in their documentaries consistent with the mission of the NMAAHC. Each documentary also reflected the 2020 NHD theme, Breaking Barriers in History.
Lester’s ten-minute documentary, Shirley Chisholm: The Good Fight, received first place in the National History Day Georgia State Contest earlier in May.
Macon Teacher Selected for National Professional Development Opportunity
Jonathan Merrill, a teacher at Howard Middle School and Howard High School in Macon, Georgia, was one of only 98 teachers selected for a National History Day (NHD) summer professional development program. The new course focused on using online Library of Congress resources to develop and support historical arguments. Over the course of the series, Merrill has explored digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress, engaged in live webinar programs and discussions with fellow educators from across the country, and developed resources to use with students in his classroom.
“At the conclusion of this course, Mr. Merrill will be able to share with his students key strategies for researching, supporting, and presenting historical arguments backed up by these primary sources,” said NHD Executive Director Cathy Gorn. “This is a crucial skill in teaching and learning good history, and is especially valuable now when so many students and teachers across the country are engaged in remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Merrill was selected for this professional development series by the National History Day Georgia program.
Team Georgia Earns Top Marks at the National Contest
The virtual National History Day National Contest was held June 9–14, 2020.
More than 60 Georgia students qualified to compete in the National Contest after earning top marks at the virtual National History Day Georgia State Contest held earlier in April. In both the junior and senior divisions, students competed a range of projects including papers, documentaries, exhibits, and websites, in relation to the theme “Breaking Barriers in History.”
Georgia students competed with peers from all 50 states and U.S. territories and countries as far away as Singapore.
For the second year in row, the Outstanding Entry on Native American History award, sponsored by the National Park Service, was awarded to a Georgia student. The award is given in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the study of Native American history. The 2020 recipient of this award, Sophia Shepherd, is a student at Druid Hills High School.
For the first time in National History Day Georgia history, a Georgia student’s documentary was selected to be screened in a virtual showcase sponsored by the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Midtown International School student Temple Lester’s documentary, “Shirley Chisholm: The Good Fight,” was one of just 35 student documentaries selected for this prestigious opportunity by the staff of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Atlanta Educator Nominated for National History Day Teacher of the Year
Laura Szymanski, a teacher at Midtown International School in Atlanta, was nominated for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award.
Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates nominated one middle school teacher for this award, and Mrs. Szymanski is the junior division nominee from Georgia. Every nominee is a teacher who demonstrates a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest.
Tyrone Educator Nominated for National History Day Teacher of the Year
William Harris, a teacher at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, was nominated for the Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Teacher of the Year Award.
Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates may nominate one high school teacher for this award, and Mr. Harris is the senior division nominee from Georgia. Every nominee is a teacher who demonstrates a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest.
Regional Competition Sponsors
Regional competition sponsors include Augusta University; Bibb County and Houston County Schools; Clayton County Schools; Coastal Georgia Historical Society; DeKalb County Schools; Georgia Southwestern State University; Henry County Schools; Kennesaw State University; LaGrange College; Robert Toombs Christian Academy; Rockdale County Schools; Thomas County Schools; and the University of Georgia.