Cooperstown Central School will be sending three students to compete in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest beginning Sunday at the University of Maryland at College Park near Washington, D.C.
Eighth-graders Pierce Snyder, Ilsa Dohner and Grace LeCates qualified for the national contest by placing second in their respective categories in the state competition.
“When we found out we were going to nationals it was this huge honor,” said Dohner.
For National History Day, students from around the U.S., several U.S. territories and armed forces schools choose a historical topic based on the current year’s theme. This year’s theme is rights and responsibilities.
Students then do primary and secondary historical research on a topic related to the theme, before presenting projects in paper, exhibit, performance, documentary or website form. Exhibits, performances, documentaries and websites can be group or individual projects, and students compete in junior and senior divisions. The junior division is open to students in middle school, while the senior division is open to high-school students.
Snyder’s project was a paper on Curt Flood and free agency in Major League Baseball. Dohner and LeCate’s project was an exhibit on the Berlin Wall.
In the National History Day Contest, students compete against one another in their respective categories at the regional and state level in order to be able to move on to the national contest. Students are judged based off the quality of their projects, as well as their performances in interviews about their projects from a panel of judges.
“We had done so much research on it that it kind of came naturally,” LeCates said.
“With regionals I was really nervous,” said Snyder, adding that he wasn’t nervous during his state interview in part because he’d already had one of the judges at regionals.