State history competition comes to LaGrange College campus

Published 8:00 pm Friday, April 12, 2019

Students from all over the state will be joined by their parents and teachers at LaGrange College Saturday for the 2019 National History Day Georgia State Contest. This is the first time LaGrange College has hosted the state competition.

There are 550 students registered to present 299 total entries in categories including exhibit, performance, documentary, historical paper and website.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in front of Callaway Auditorium, followed by a welcome program at 9:15 a.m. inside the auditorium. Judging will be held at sites in West Side, Lewis Library, the Whorton Room and Bailey Room in Smith Hall, as well as classrooms in Callaway Academic Building and Callaway Science Building.

More than 100 volunteer judges will spend the day interviewing and evaluating the work of the students. An awards ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m. in Callaway Auditorium.

Dr. Kevin Shirley, professor of history, has been involved with the National History Day program for years and has orchestrated Saturday’s event.

NHD encourages middle school and high school students to engage more deeply in the historical process by conducting and presenting historical research, he said.

 “It is also great exposure for the college,” Shirley said. “We plant a lot of seeds by trying to introduce as many folks as we can to LaGrange. But the main purpose of the competition is helping students build their skills and helping them grow intellectually.”

He praised the efforts of volunteers from the college who will be helping throughout the day.

“There is no way we could do this without them,” he said. “We have faculty, staff and students who will be assisting all over campus. They have been wonderful in their willingness to step in and do whatever is needed. And of course, National and ARAMARK have been outstanding partners in this effort.”

Shirley was instrumental in leading the college into a co-sponsorship of the state contest with Georgia Humanities in 2012. Since then, with Dr. Shirley as co-coordinator, the program has doubled in participation and expects to reach 12,000 students this year. The college hosted the regional competition in March.

Shirley also leads an annual summer workshop for teachers to help prepare them to conduct NHD programs in their schools.  Hosted by the college, that event has drawn participants from as far as Washington state and Minnesota. 

With so many people expected Saturday, he asked for everyone’s patience.

“There will be a lot of people on campus that day,” he said. “Parking will be at a premium, with several places designated for special needs participants and others. We know everyone will extend the legendary LaGrange College hospitality to our guests.”

National History Day Georgia is a program of Georgia Humanities and LaGrange College.