On Sunday, June 10, the University of Maryland welcomed 2,800 of the nation’s best young historians to the National History Day Contest. Students from all 50 states plus 5 territories and other affiliates gathered for a celebration of history and to compete for prizes and scholarships.
Louisiana is represented by 47 students who qualified from the State Contest held at The National WWII Museum on April 21, 2012. These students created an impressive array of projects from topics local to Louisiana such as the Plaquemine Locks and the 1927 Mississippi River flood to international topics like the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Siege of Mecca in 1979. Middle school students defended their work on Monday, and high school students interviewed on Tuesday.
The 1927 Flood by Rachel Ellis
Jalen Chatman prepares for his group performance on the Boston Tea Party
As is typical of the contest, World War II projects fill the exhibit hall, the documentary rooms, the web site interviews, the paper defenses, and the performance venues. This year’s theme of Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History made students think creatively to fit their WWII interests to the theme. Projects on rationing, the GI Bill, and military techniques were crafted to show the short and long term changes that resulted and the impacts of the topics.
A project on rationing in WWII with items from The National WWII Museum collection
An exhibit on the impacts of blitzkrieg
Awards will be announced on Thursday, June 14, 2012. First, second, and third place in each category receive prizes, and select special topics—including Best WWII Project—receive prizes as well. The Awards event will be streamed live courtesy of History beginning at 8:30am ET.
On this National Teacher Day, The National WWII Museum salutes all those teachers who work tirelessly in guiding our next generation. Education is at the heart of the Museum’s mission so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Without teachers bringing students to us, we could not have our intended impact.
Because of dedicated, hard working teachers the Museum has seen over 400,000 students come through the doors on field trips. We know that collecting permission slips, scheduling buses, and organizing students is not an easy task, yet it is one that we see hundreds of committed teachers do every year to help bring the lessons of World War II to their students.
History teachers make up the bulk of the teachers who visit us, but they are not the only ones. Math and science teachers have come through with student groups after booking STEM field trips. English teachers bring students through regularly to emphasize non-fiction works. We have had visits from art and theater classes as well.
Our recently completed essay contest received over 1,000 submissions from students across the country—because teachers made this opportunity to win scholarships available to their students. In developing the essay topic, the Museum has the easy job. Teachers play the greater role of explaining the topic and guiding students through the writing process. The winning essays show that teachers are definitely emphasizing clarity, persuasion, and tone in student writing.
Tech-savvy teachers have responded to our Virtual Field Trips. Over 18,000 students have participated in our interactive lessons during this schoolyear. The years of work that we have put into the design and execution of these experiences would mean nothing if teachers were not willing to bring us into their classrooms and devote time to using our preparation materials with their students.
All of us at the Museum can remember a great teacher who influenced us. For many of us here, it was a history teacher who made us realize the power of studying history, of moving beyond memorization and searching for the lessons in history. We can remember the first project, or field trip, or experience that made us connect with history. We remember the time that a story moved us to want to know more, the first time that a history lesson inspired us to become independent learners.
Teachers, for all you do, Thank You!
This post by Louisiana History Day Coordinator Nathan Huegen
On Saturday, April 21, the Louisiana History Day State Contest was held at The National WWII Museum. Over 90 projects entered in 5 categories in both middle and high school. Thirty-one projects and 49 students advanced to the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.
These 49 students spent countless hours perfecting their projects in order to advance to the National Contest. Their work is not done. Immediately following the Awards Ceremony on April 21, all 49 qualifiers took the feedback from the Contest’s judging panels and began revising their work. The students are updating web sites, revamping exhibit boards, altering performance scripts, and proofreading their work over and over.
Unfortunately, many of these students cannot afford the estimated $700 cost to travel and compete in Washington, DC, making their dream of competing at the National History Day just that — a dream.
So The National WWII Museum is stepping up to help these dedicated and hard-working students realize their full potential, and we’re asking our friends and supporters to help us get them to Washington for the National History Day Contest so they can present their projects.
Amy Vines from Winnfield High School and Carla DiStefano from St. Bernard Parish Schools are the winners of the 2012 Patricia Behring Louisiana History Day Teacher of the Year. Ms. Vines and Ms. DiStefano will each receive $500, and they will be entered into a national competition for a $10,000 prize. Each will represent Louisiana at the National History Day Contest in College Park, MD.
Ms. Vines teaches English I and Journey to Careers at Winnfield High School in Winnfield, LA. Ms. Vines credits National History Day with instilling in her students the lessons of “will-power, tolerance, failure and success” as well as overcoming “insecurity, doubt, and fear.” (more…)
The Louisiana State History Day Contest was held on Saturday, April 21. More than 150 students representing 12 Parishes brought their research projects to The National WWII Museum with the hopes of earning a spot in the National History Day Contest. At the end of the day, 31 projects with 49 student creators advanced and will attend the National Contest at the University of Maryland from June 10-14.
Students’ projects were reviewed by judging panels who interviewed the students about their interest in the topic, their project’s content, and their research process. These interviews prove especially helpful to students for the next round as it allows them to become adept at communicating their knowledge. Evaluation forms were returned to all students to help them get a head start on the next round or next year’s competition. (more…)
On April 21, The National WWII Museum will host the Louisiana History Day State Contest. In this competition, students from across Louisiana will compete to advance to the National History Day Contest held at the University of Maryland. Middle and high school students compete in one of five different categories: research paper, exhibit, performance, documentary, and web site. Judging panels will review the students’ work and conduct interviews before determining the top 2 entries in each category for advancement to the National Contest.
In addition to the students who competed in the New Orleans Regional last month, students from Regional Contests in Monroe, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport will be hoping for a spot in the National Contest. Below is a recap of each Regional Contest.
The Monroe Regional took place at the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum on March 17. Outstanding entries went to Sarah Elliot for her paper, “World War II: Children Who Survived the Holocaust” and to Shalona Forest for her exhibit “The Story of Oskar Schindler.”
In the days leading up to the contest, Sarah had to trim her paper from more than 3,000 words to meet the History Day limit of 2,500 words. She found the editing to be “useful in the future for college and career” prospects. (more…)
On Saturday, March 24, The National WWII Museum hosted the New Orleans Regional History Day Contest. Students from Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany Parishes arrived with their exhibits, documentaries, performances, research papers, and web sites for a review of their work. Each student was able to present his/her project and then participate in a 10 minute interview with a panel of three judges. Students were able to discuss their research methodologies, their content, and their sources during their interviews.
The theme for the contest was Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History. This sparked a creative array of topics ranging from a performance on an uprising in the Treblinka Death Camp to an exhibit on Blaine Kern’s role in Mardi Gras to a web site on Curt Flood and the advent of free agency in baseball. Higgins Boats proved to be an especially popular topic with three separate exhibits focusing on these revolutionary landing boats. Entries were judged on how well students connected their topics to the theme along with the quality of their historical research and their presentation skills.
National History Day contest season opens in March. The National WWII Museum hosts the New Orleans Regional Contest on March 24. At this contest, students from nine surrounding parishes will bring their exhibits, documentaries, research papers, web sites, and live performances for judging and display. After this evaluation, top projects will be invited back to the Museum to compete against students from the entire state for a spot in the National Contest held at the University of Maryland.
Local students are busy editing their projects and making sure that their work supports a coherent thesis. They are working on their interview skills as each will defend their work to a panel of three judges. While their nervousness is apparent before the interview, a feeling of relief and excitement takes over when they finish. The students are then free to explore the Museum’s exhibits while they wait to hear if they have a spot in the next round. (more…)
Within an environment of institutional prejudices and against a stubborn German foe, the legacy of the most famous American service unit of World War II, the Red Ball Express, was forged. For most of World War II, service units were the predominant assignments given to African-American soldiers. Although many African-American soldiers found themselves segregated from white units and relegated to non-combat roles in the Quartermaster and Transportation Corps, this did not keep them, or the over 75% African American drivers of the Red Ball Express, out of the fight.
An MP directs Red Ball Express drivers to
stay on the ‘Ball.’ September 5th, 1944
Gift of Julian Dean, 2010.523.350
In World War II, the ability of a nation to supply its armed forces with the materiel needed to fight proved just as significant to victory as the performance of its military on the battlefront. For this reason, World War II is often described as the world’s first “100 percent internal combustion engine war.” Tanks, trucks, planes and ships all consumed fuel at rapid rates and in voraciously large amounts. Without a steady supply of petroleum, oil and lubricants, an army’s advance would stall and its soldiers would suffer from the lack of food, ammunition and mechanized support.
On Monday, February 13, 2012, National History Day received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. National History Day Executive Director, Dr. Cathy Gorn accepted the award on behalf of all those involved with the program—including The National WWII Museum.
National History Day’s selection marks the first time a K-12 education program received the National Humanities Medal. The citation credits National History Day as “a program that inspires in American students a passion for history. Each year more than half a million children from across the country compete in this event, conducting research and producing websites, papers, performances, and documentaries to tell the human story.”
The National WWII Museum sponsors National History Day in Louisiana by hosting and organizing a series of contests and supporting Louisiana’s National Contest qualifiers. In addition, the Museum serves as a resource for all students working on World War II-related projects. This year we have hosted NHD students from as far away as Indiana, and even conducted an interview with a student in Singapore! (more…)
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.