ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Area elementary, middle and high school students will convene at Grand Valley State University during a competition to convey state history through writing, art, literature, music, drama, and visual communications.
Presentations, interviews and questions from judges are what lies ahead for young students headed to the Michigan History Day western regional contest to be held Saturday, March 13, from 9:15 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the Kirkhof Center on Grand Valley's Allendale Campus.
Michigan History Day offers a fascinating opportunity to move social science beyond rote learning. Students perform self-directed research on an individually chosen topic then present their work following this year's theme, "Innovation in History: Impact and Change."
One hundred sixty students representing many West Michigan area schools registered their entries. They will compete in two divisions: Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12). There is also a noncompetitive youth division for fourth and fifth grade students.
Entrants present from one of five categories: individual paper, individual and group websites, and individual or group exhibits, documentaries and performances. Judges are faculty and graduates from Grand Valley's history department, local teachers and community historians. They will select the top three entries in each division and category, which will advance to the state contest, held April 24 at the Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn.
The goal of the program is to empower students with research skills, critical thinking skills and outlets for creative expression, which will enhance their academic abilities in all areas of study. Sponsors for the local event include Grand Valley State University, the College of Letters Arts and Sciences, the Department of History, The Historical Society of Michigan, The Michigan Council for History Education, Meijer, Amway, The Cook Charitable Foundation, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and the Detroit Salt Company.
For more information contact Sean O'Neill, Grand Valley professor of history, at (616) 331-3325.