U.S. History

June 2012

Maine West - Social Sciences - Ms. Bryanne Roemer

Foundation Award: $400

Three students from Maine West were chosen from thousands to represent Des Plaines and Illinois at National History Day in Washington D.C. in June. The foundation is subsidizing this program at $100 per student plus $100 for shipping of the project materials to the National Conference.

History Fair is an annual competition in which local students present research projects on topics related to Chicago history in the hopes of representing Illinois at Nationals. During the Fair, students spend up to six months working individually or in groups to create historical research projects. Students learn how to find and use primary and secondary sources as evidence in their projects. In the process, they extend the walls of the classroom into the community to find sources for their research. Students present their findings through research papers, exhibits, documentaries, live performances, and web sites. Participation in History Fair helps students improve their reading, writing, thinking, and presentation skills. Students confront questions of significance, validity, points of view, change over time, and cause-and- effect. In studying the history of their own community, they learn how decisions are made in the social, cultural, economic, and political realms that affect their lives. Through History Fair, students not only become historians; they also become better citizens.

The students started this process as a class assignment, which progressed into a national level competition. Students went through five stages of competition upon reaching national qualification. The first level was a classroom competition in which the top 25 projects from each category were chosen. Next, students participated in the school wide fair, from that the top 10 projects from each category were picked to go to the regional fair at Niles North High School on February 25, 2012. The regional competition consisted of 25-30 suburban schools that participated in history fair. The top projects went on to the city-wide fair (Metro) at UIC on April 10, 2012. At the metro fair, students competed with city and suburban high schools. A select few projects were chosen to present at the state completion (against projects from the Chicago area, central, and southern Illinois). At state on May 3, 2012, the top two projects from each category are picked to be the national finalists. They represent not only their community, but the state at National History Day (NHD) June 10-14, 2012 in Washington D.C. The Maine West students going to NHD were chosen out of approximately 20,000 projects throughout each level to move on to nationals. At NHD our students will compete against students from all 50 states, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, South Asia, East Asia, and Europe. This is an amazing opportunity for our students.