National History Day results coming soon, 3 freshman class essays qualify for state contest

By J1 reporter Megan Hoppe

Three Marian freshman essays about breaking barriers have gone to state for their National History Day. As state results approach, the students are currently waiting for the final outcome from a long road which led them to state. For their world history class, freshmen were required to write a paper responding to this year’s History Day prompt: breaking barriers. On March 6 Marian freshmen went to Metro Community College to compete in the district level of the National History Day competition.

Group picture of the freshman who went to the district level of National History Day on March 6 at Metro Community College in Omaha. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Katy Salzman. 

The National History Day Competition is an annual competition all over the country which asks high schoolers to respond to a given prompt in one of the various categories such as papers, diagrams, videos, etc. Because of the world history class’ requirement, all Marian students submitted papers. In previous years, sophomores from Marian have entered the competition, but this year freshmen did. 

This prompt left lots of room for a wide variety of topics. “It was a bit difficult deciding, but I decided to go with a topic that I felt people needed to know more about: The Americans with Disabilities Act,”  freshman Ceci Urbanski said. 

“I chose my topic ‘The Barrios and Effects of Apollo 11’ partly because it was the 50th anniversary which made me start thinking about it, and partly because my grandfather and I love space,” freshman Kate Hoppe said.

For the class requirement, students choose their topic in Dec., began working on it in early January and finished it in February, but the work did not end there for some students. 

Some freshmen continued on, spending more time revising their papers before submitting them to the district level of National History Day. “I revised and reread my paper until I practically could not read it anymore,” freshman Lauren Young said. 

At the district level, students were also interviewed about their writing process and topic to show the judges their level of understanding on the issue. The students were given a list of possible interview questions which they were encouraged to practice from. In addition to practicing the interview questions,

“I believe the best way I prepared for the interview was knowing all that was in my paper… and knowledge that was not written as well,” Young said.

Hoppe added “actually going to the history day and being interviewed was a lot harder than writing the paper, because you didn’t know what they would ask you.” 

Many high school students attended history day from schools all over the Omaha metro area. It was time for their papers to be judged and to be interviewed. Marian students felt different emotions about the day: Young said “I was not very nervous.” 

 “I was excited [and] really wanted to share what I made,” Urbanski said

 “it was really nerve racking,” Hoppe said.

 The hard work paid off for these three freshmen: all three of their essays are in the running for state recognition.

Because of  COVID-19, the state competition is a bit different than the past. Students who qualified uploaded their papers after editing them again based on suggestions from the judges at districts. There were no interview for the state round. 

Judging occurred from April 17-25, and the date when the results will be shared is TBD. If they place at state, they will then move on to nationals. “I am excited to see if anyone from Marian places,” Young said.

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