Michigan History Day regional contest at Grand Valley Saturday

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Performances, presentations, interviews and questions from judges are what lies ahead for young students headed to Michigan History Day. The western regional contest will be held at Grand Valley State University on Saturday, March 19, from 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m., at the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus.

Michigan History Day offers middle and high school students a fascinating opportunity to move social studies beyond rote learning. Following research on an individually chosen topic they will present their work through the disciplines of art, literature, music, drama, and visual communications, in addition to writing. 

This year's contest includes more than 250 students representing many West Michigan area schools. Their entries follow the theme, "Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences." The competition includes two divisions: junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12). There is also a noncompetitive youth division for fourth and fifth graders who may come to the competition for judging.

Entrants present in one of five categories: individual paper, individual or group exhibits, documentaries, websites and performances. Judges are faculty and graduates from Grand Valley's history department, local teachers and community historians. They will select the top three entries in each division and category, which will advance to the state contest, held at Grand Valley on April 30.

"It is the goal of the program to empower students with research skills, critical thinking skills and outlets for creative expression," said Sean O’Neill, Grand Valley professor of history. "These in turn will enhance their academic abilities in all areas of study."

Sponsors for the local event include Grand Valley's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of History, The Historical Society of Michigan, The Michigan Council for History Education, Meijer, Alticor, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and the Detroit Salt Company.

For more information contact Sean O’Neill at (616) 331-3325.

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