Five BHS students advance to state NHD competition
National History Day (NHD) is a national program that creates opportunities for students and their teachers to engage in historical research. The annual NHD Contest is meant to improve the learning of history amongst middle and high school students nationwide.
A group of Bangor High School students recently qualified for the National History Day State Contest after presenting their almost year-long research projects virtually at the local and regional levels.
Sophomore Emma Fortier and freshmen Nolan Langrehr, Leslie Daines and Gladys Bores all qualified for the state competition as well as Natalie Kadrmas who will serve as an alternate.
The five qualifiers are all students of Carlene Baurichter, who is a US History, World History, Economics, Psychology and Sociology teacher at BHS. Baurichter has been teaching for seven years and this is her third year in the Bangor School District.
She has required her students to participate in the contest all three years she’s been at BHS and her students have competed in the contest six out of the seven years she’s been an educator.
Each year, NHD supports students’ research within a historical theme, which is chosen to provide a lens through which students can examine world, national, or state history and its relevance to the past. The 2020-2021 theme was Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.
Beginning in the fall, students choose a topic related to the annual theme and conduct extensive research. Although participants may select a topic on any aspect of local, regional, national or world history, their project’s research and conclusions must relate clearly to the annual theme.
When studying history through historical research, students practice critical inquiry, asking questions of significance, time and place and history students become immersed in their research.
For the students, NHD allows control of their own learning as they select topics that match their personal interests. Program expectations and guidelines are provided for students, but the research is driven by the process and is unique to the topic being researched.
After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students must present their work in one of five ways.
They need to either write an original paper, create an exhibit, conduct a performance, build a website or create a documentary.
“Normally most students do exhibits, but we’ve had websites and papers. Once in a while students will make documentaries and I’ve only had one performance,” Baurichter said.
Their projects are then entered into competitions at local levels, where they are evaluated by local historians, educators and/or college students studying history.
“They will conduct interviews with students in 10-minute time slots. The judges usually ask them about their research process, why they chose their topic and what the most difficult part of researching their topic was,” Baurichter said. “The judges then get to choose five projects from each category to move on to the regional contest at UWL, which is basically the same exact thing.”
Top entries are then invited to the state level contests, which will be held virtually in April this year.
This year, Emma Fortier presented an exhibit titled Songs Used to Help Escape Slavery; Nolan Langrehr’s exhibit is titled Communication in WWII; Leslie Daines’ exhibit is titled The Telegraph: During the Civil War and Gladys Bores presented an original paper titled Cherokee Betrayal and Removal: The Understanding of the Trail of Tears.
This year’s alternate, Natalie Kadrmas presented an exhibit titled Hello Girls.
The top two entries in every category at the state level are then invited to the National Contest, which is the final stage. The 2021 National Contest will be held in June 2021.