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Mass Student Historians Compete in National History Day

Diane Daily, Program Manager

Students putting up a National History Day MA research project display.
Students putting up a National History Day MA research project display.

National History Day 2020 is now officially a wrap.

National History Day in Massachusetts offers students in grades 6-12 the opportunity to become historians. They perform extensive research, analyze primary sources, and present their findings through papers, exhibits, performances, websites, and documentaries.

One of the most rewarding parts of this year-long program, sponsored by the Mass Historical Society, is the opportunity for students to compete at regional, state, and national contests. National History Day 2020 had 6,000 Massachusetts students participate at the school level, and 686 students from 102 cities and towns participate regionally. Sixty-one of these MA students advanced to the national contest.

Determined not to cancel the regional and state contests due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Mass Historical Society staff and National History Day MA volunteers sprang into action to organize the first-ever virtual contest for the program in Massachusetts. Students submitted their projects electronically and a cohort of over 200 volunteers evaluated the projects and provided written feedback.

“Our students worked incredibly hard since September to conduct research and create these projects, and we are so proud of their incredible accomplishment,” said Mass Historical Society Director of Education Elyssa Tardif. “Developing a virtual contest platform from scratch in a few short weeks was no small feat, but we were inspired by our students’ commitment to seeing their projects through to the end.”

Massachusetts’ Winners at National History Day

Spandana Vagwala of Montrose School in South Grafton, MA
Third place – Senior Individual Website
Drawing for Suffrage: Political Imagery in the Fight for Enfranchising Women in Britain
Teacher: Kristine Forsgard

Ian Castracane, Ryan Luo, Luke McMahon, Chris Domoracki, and Leo Greco of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School in South Hamilton, MA
Third Place – Senior Group Documentary
The Week That Changed the World: Nixon’s Groundbreaking Visit to China
Teacher: Kristen Borges

Congratulations to all of the teachers, students, parents, judges, librarians, historians, mentors, and countless others who participated in this incredible season of History Day.

National History Day MA is supported by Mass Cultural Council, the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, and Mass Humanities.


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