On the Scene at National History Day: Day One
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Greetings from this year’s National History Day contest! Maryland’s 55 participants have arrived and begun to register, set up their exhibits, and swap buttons with students from each of the other states. Despite some intense humidity, the students have been bubbling with enthusiasm.
The annual Maryland delegation reception was a success in its new location: the air conditioned Tydings Hall. Almost 100 students, parents, siblings and teachers stopped by to enjoy refreshments, meet other Maryland participants, get some last-minute coaching from Mr. John Willard, and pick up a History Day teddy bear. Among the guests were Mack Godfrey of Columbia Gas of Maryland, who drove from Pittsburgh to judge at the contest for the 16th year, as well as Susan Hottle-Schultz of St. Mary’s School in Annapolis, one of Maryland’s two Behring Teachers of the Year.
A “special guest” was announced at the opening awards ceremony; the guest is actually one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence on loan from Norman Lear. The document, one of only 25 known to exist, will be displayed Monday through Wednesday.
The national competition officially kicked off with a festive, brief opening ceremony. Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (and a visitor to the MHC offices this spring), spoke about the role of history in contemporary decision-making and the importance of historical studies in these students’ future endeavors.