The next generation of historians

t History Day encourages

students to discover the past.

Middle school and high school historians will put their work on display at Washington’s 26th annual History Day competition, Monday in the Bremer Center at Olympic College.

Washington History Day is part of National History Day, which calls students in grades 6-12 to complete a historical research-based project congruent with an annual theme.

History Day themes change annually and are designed to foster original, pointed topic ideas, leading students to investigate and analyze a personalized historical topic.

This year’s theme, “Conflict and Compromise in History,” encouraged students to explore the significance of one historical event — whether it be a war, religious movement or social conflict — to analyze how the presence of conflict and/or compromise influenced the event’s happenings and eventual outcome.

“These students will never forget this experience,” said Garry Schalliol, Washington History Day judge coordinator. “Many of them often cite this as their best academic experience.”

Schalliol said students can present their projects five different ways — by table-top display, research paper, website design, documentary or 10-minute live performance — and have the option to work in a team or with a partner, unless completing the research paper option.

“It’s pretty amazing, what you can do in 10 minutes,” Schalliol said of the live performances, which encourage students to display creative and innovative techniques toward their presentation.

Students will be divided into two divisions based on grade level, with 6-8 grade students in the junior division and 9-12 students in the senior division.

Schalliol said History Day not only functions as an academic tool but generates excitement about history — a subject many students shy away from.

“People are actually cheering about history,” he said.

About 2,000 students are expected to participate in Washington History Day, entering into one of seven state regions ranging from eastern Washington to north Puget Sound to Bremerton’s Olympic region.

And while the turnout is expected to be strong statewide, Schalliol said the state would like to see larger numbers, especially in the senior division.

“Our goal over time is to get teachers more involved,” he said, adding that few high schoolers from Bremerton entered the competition.

The highest-ranked entrants at the regional level will move on to the state competition, which is slated for April 26. First and second-place winners at state advance to the June national competition, held at the University of Maryland.

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