Congratulations! You and your students are moving on to the state competition April 29th! They are among the best of the best in their district! Having attended several of the regional competitions this March, that is quite an accomplishment! The level of competition has increased over the last few years. The bar has been raised and Connecticut is making it’s mark on NHD at all levels of the competition!
Now what? The dream of all NHD participants is to make it to the national competition in June, at the University of Maryland. How can you help them to shine at the state competition and achieve their ultimate goal?
The answer to that question is twofold, preparation is key, and yes, a bit of luck on April 29th! We really don’t know what stands out to an individual judge. It could be an interesting fact that the students uncovered in their research. Or, a quote that connects their thesis to their project, and strikes a personal connection. There is always a project that is a surprise, that at first glance most will pass by. I refer to these projects as the “sleepers.” They have been overlooked. It is not the project with all of the glitz, but the one that has answered the prompt and proved their thesis. It is generally simple and to the point. On a second, look this becomes obvious. It is hard sometimes to move past the glitz and artistry that some students are capable of producing. It is important to look deeper. To help students with this important next step, I offer this check list of suggestions:
Most of all, remember that National History Day is about the learning process. No matter whether students win an award or medal at the state competition, they are still winners! They have advanced their personal communication, research and writing skills, in addition to becoming an expert on their topics. They have expanded their personal knowledge base, which will remain with them for life!
Good luck to everyone on April 29th! I look forward to seeing all of you at Central Connecticut State University!!!!
- Sharon Wlodarczyk