Students from all over Eastern Washington Made Their Way to EWU for Regional History Day
March 2, 2017
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Voices echoed off the walls of Patterson Hall Saturday as students squeezed in one last practice round before the judges evaluated their projects.
On Feb. 25, middle and high school students from Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho travelled to EWU for the chance to compete in the 2017 Eastern Region History Day.
History Day is a nationally acclaimed history education program that challenges middle and high school students to become historians, explorers, investigators and leaders through active learning.
“I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning,” said Jared Yearsly, a junior at Delta High School in Pasco, Washington. “We got on a bus at 4 a.m. and then made the three hour drive here.”
Students are divided into two divisions: junior and senior. The junior division consists of students in grades six through eight, while the senior division is for students in grades nine through 12.
In order to participate, the students had to enter one of the five categories: papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries or websites. The students worked either in groups or individually, but papers could only be done individually.
If a student finishes in any of the top three categories, they can continue on to state for a chance to compete at nationals, held July 11 to July 15.
History Day Judge John Collins said History Day is a very important event. Students get a chance to do in-depth research, as well as think deeply and critically about a topic.
Students gain valuable skills for future assignments as they continue in school, Collins said. History Day challenges students to do extensive research, work together and present the information they learned in an interesting way.
Jared Yearsly and Cooper Jensen, two Delta High School Students who presented a project on Chiune Sugihara, said they learned how vital working together and communication is.
“You really have to stay on top of people,” said Jensen. “Nothing is worse than realizing somebody didn’t do their part when we had months to complete it. Then you end up doing their part because you want to get a good grade.”
Yearsly said that on top of getting a good grade, his favorite part was doing research and learning about the topic.
“At the start, I knew [Sugihara] was a good person because of all the people he saved,” said Yearsly. “But the more I read the more I realized how much he cared. I like the fact that he had a heart to save people.”
While it was mandatory for some students to participate, other students like Ben Goodell and Mieri Kahsay, two seventh graders from North Central’s Institute of Science and Technology Grade Immersion program, said they wanted to participate to show off their knowledge.
“This contest seemed fun and different,” said Goodell. “Why not take a chance to show that we are as great as high school students and teach people about a topic.”
Kahsay said participating in History Day was a fun challenge. It allowed her to work with a partner and create a project that could be presented to people in an entertaining way.
“History teaches people about our past and how a certain event impacted the world we live in today,” said Kahsay. “The best thing I’ve learned is how people fight for what they believe in. They didn’t sit around and wait, they took a stand and fought for the change that they believed in.”