District history competition comes to YSU

On Saturday, Youngstown State University will host the 38th annual Ohio District 4 National History Day.

Middle school and high school students from Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Mahoning, Portage and Trumbull counties will compete for prizes and scholarships — and the chance to advance within the competition.

Diane Barnes, a history professor at YSU and the History Day program coordinator, said National History Day is “probably the most important connection the history department makes with the community.”

Judges for the competition include professional historians, teachers, public librarians, community members and Mahoning Valley Historical Society representatives.

In accordance with this year’s theme, students based their projects on events that changed history. Students could choose from a variety of different mediums, like acting out skits, creating a website or writing a paper.

“It’s cool for students to make their own project,” Barnes said. “They can do many different things.”

National History Day began in Ohio in 1974 and is headquartered in College Park, Md. President Barack Obama awarded the program the National Humanities Medal in 2011.

More than half a million U.S. students participate in National History Day each year. The contest is open to traditional students as well as those who are home-schooled.

Aubrey Brown, a history department graduate student at YSU, said it is important for home-schooled students to compete at History Day.

“It gives them an opportunity to interact and compete with other students, which they do not normally get to do,” she said.

Students who advance from the district competition will move on to the state contest, which will be held at Ohio State University in Columbus on April 27. The national contest will take place from June 9 through 13 at the University of Maryland.

For more information about Saturday’s contest, call 330-941-3452.