CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On Feb. 22, about 300 of the top middle and high school history students in the area will converge on Austin Peay State University for a Tennessee History Day Competition. The local campus was recently selected as the host site for the newly-formed North Middle Tennessee district of the highly-regarded national competition.
Students from surrounding counties will visit APSU that Wednesday to participate in a wide range of categories, including performance, websites, posters, papers and documentary film, all centered around this year’s theme of Revolution, Reaction and Reform. The winners in each category will go on to the state competition in Nashville in April. Students who place in that event will go on to the National History Day Competition in College Park, Md.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase the University to students who, in the next year or two, are going to be thinking about college,” Dr. Kristofer Ray, APSU assistant professor of history and event co-coordinator, said. “It’s an opportunity for us to show off our campus, our faculty and our facilities.”
The National History Day competition began in the early 1970s as a way of creating excitement in students toward the subject of history. More than half a million students now participate each year in the event, which helps them develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, research and oral and written communication.
“It’s also an opportunity for Austin Peay to get involved in an element of K-12 curriculum, which has been the subject of less emphasis in recent years – civics and humanities,” Ray said. “This is a chance for us to remind people that there’s more to the K-12 experience than science and math. This is an opportunity for students to plug into this side of things, and it’s an opportunity for us, the University, to emphasize this side of the educational experience as well.”
The students will arrive at the campus’s Morgan University Center early that morning and spend much of the day presenting their work to a panel of judges. Later that afternoon, an awards ceremony will be held for the top participants. The public is invited to attend the presentations and the awards ceremony.
“The performances are uniformly very interesting,” Ray said. “And I would invite K-12 educators around this city who might not be familiar with it to come and see what it’s all about.”