Hundreds of Georgia students participate in state contest at LaGrange College

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Students from all over the state participated in the 2019 National History Day Georgia State Contest Saturday at LaGrange College.

There were 550 students registered to present 299 total entries in categories including exhibit, performance, documentary, historical paper and website, according to a press release from LaGrange College. Judging was 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 spent the day interviewing and evaluating the work of the students, and an awards ceremony was held at 3:30 p.m. in Callaway Auditorium.

The individual and group exhibits included various topics, such as Title IX, the tragedy and corruption of the adoption system of Columbia during the 1970s and 1980s, Ford Motor Company’s Assembly line, the Apollo mission and the Fox Theatre. 

Dr. Kevin Shirley, Professor of History, has been involved with the National History Day program for years and 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,” he 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 helped 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.”

Dr. 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.

National History Day Georgia is a program of Georgia Humanities and LaGrange College. Regional competition sponsors include Augusta University; Bibb County School District and Houston County Board of Education; Clayton State University and the National Archives-Atlanta; Coastal Georgia Historical Society; Georgia College; Georgia Southwestern State University; Kennesaw State University; Thomas County Schools; Troup Historical Society and LaGrange College; and the University of Georgia.