National History Day

May 2013

Maine South - US History - Mr. Shawn Messmer

Foundation Award: $100

A Maine South student has been selected to represent Illinois as a participant in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition at the University of Maryland in College Park, June 9-13, 2013. This is an important honor for the student, their school, their community, and their state.

National History Day is a nationally acclaimed academic enrichment program that prom

otes the study of history in grades 6-12. NHD encourages students to take a creative approach to studying history and recognizes student work in public events similar to science fairs. In the process, students learn research, writing, and communication skills and gain an understanding of the importance of historical perspective. Participating students develop research papers, exhibits, documentaries, websites, and performances based on topics related to an annual theme. The 2013 theme is “Turning Points in History.”

National qualifiers are selected by panels of educators, historians, and community memb

ers at the annual Illinois History Exposition held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield. The State Expo, coordinated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in cooperation with the Chicago Metro History Education Center, features the work of more than 2,000 young historians. These students have already advanced from highly competitive school and regional fairs held around the state. The students selected to attend National History Day have earned a special honor. They serve as ambassadors for Illinois throughout the competition, interacting with students from other states and meeting with legislators.

Bridget is a junior at Maine South. Her Chicago Metro History Fair project was selected to advance to the National History Day (NHD) competition in June at the University of Maryland (just outside of Washington DC).

Bridget produced a video documentary on the integration of NCAA men’s college basketball. One of the most important moments in efforts to integrate occurred during the 1962-1963 season of the Loyola Ramblers. Bridget researched the “Game of Change” in which the integrated Loyola team (violating unwritten NCAA rules) played an all-white Mississippi State team who had to sneak Out of the state to avoid a court injunction banning their tournament play. The Loyola team went on the win the national championship (the only team in Illinois ever to do so). Bridget is a basketball player and selected this topic herself. She conducted extensive research in the archives at Loyola and attended a 50th anniversary panel presentation by both the Loyola and Mississippi State teams.