Event highlights debate and diplomacy in history 

Judging for the National History Day contest in Missouri is underway statewide as just under 500 students in grades 6 to 12 compete in this year’s virtual contest, which is themed Debate and Diplomacy in History.

The awards ceremony will be held online at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30. State winners will compete at the national contest in June, which will also be held online this year due to health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. National History Day in Missouri is sponsored and organized by the State Historical Society of Missouri, in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and additional sponsors.

From now through April 27, volunteer judges in Missouri and elsewhere are reviewing student projects that advanced from regional competitions to the state contest. The students compete in five project categories, including documentary, exhibit, performance, paper, and website. Any public, private, or home school students who meet the grade criteria can enter the annual contest if sponsored by a teacher, guardian, or mentor. 

A recent $10,000 grant was awarded to the NHD program by Missouri Humanities to support teacher workshops, defray the costs of contest materials, and other needs to enhance next year’s contest. This year, 84 teachers in Missouri worked with students who are competing in the contest.

Beth Winton, Columbia Public School District secondary gifted programs coordinator and teacher, says the NHD program prepares her students for higher academic research and provides critical thinking skills that are transferable to many fields of study. 

“All students who take a rigorous course schedule need to know how to conduct research, interview experts, and write an annotated bibliography, just to name a few of the discrete skills gained from entering the NHD contest,” Beth says. “Students learn to ask probing questions, evaluate sources, and manage a long-term project.” 

Winners at the state level will be posted on the National History Day in Missouri website in May.  Information to get started in next year’s program is also available on the NHD website. 

About National History Day in Missouri 

Launched in 1980, National History Day in Missouri is the state affiliate of the National History Day educational program, which has half a million participants annually. National History Day in Missouri is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Missouri, in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council.