Students from 17 Maryland Counties and Baltimore City Win Awards at Maryland History Day
(Baltimore, MD) – Nearly 500 middle and high school students presented their extensive historical research at the 2023 Maryland History Day State Contest on May 6. The competition, held at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is the culmination of a year-long program from Maryland Humanities. Last year, more than 26,000 Maryland students participated at the school level.
Maryland History Day, produced by Maryland Humanities since 1999, sparks critical thinking and helps develop skills in research and analysis, writing, and public speaking. Working solo or in small groups, students create original documentary films, exhibits, performances, research papers, or websites exploring a historical topic of their choice on an annual theme, which this year is “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.” Maryland History Day is open to public, private, parochial, and homeschool students in grades 6 through 12.
Competitors at Maryland History Day have already won first or second place in their category at school and/or district levels. Students from twelve counties and Baltimore City received special awards, designated for outstanding Maryland History Day projects that cover specific subjects.
Students from eight Maryland counties and Baltimore City will represent Maryland in the National History Day competition, where they will compete among an estimated 3,000 participants from across the country and beyond. National History Day runs June 11–15 at University of Maryland in College Park.
The national competition involves students from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia. Maryland History Day is an affiliate of National History Day, a non-profit education organization that promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs, including the National History Day Contest.
Maryland Humanities is also pleased to name Denise Kresslein and Tom Stavely as the Maryland History Day Middle and High School Teachers of the year, respectively. Kresslein serves as Advanced Academics Coordinator at North Carroll Middle School in Hampstead and Westminster East Middle School. Stavely teaches U.S. History to ninth graders and works as the Teacher Coordinator at Parkdale High School in Hampton. Both teachers were honored at the Maryland History Day Awards Ceremony.
Maryland Humanities’ Maryland History Day team has also nominated Kresslein and Stavely for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award, facilitated by National History Day. National History Day affiliates nominate one high school and one middle school teacher for this award. National History Day says that “nominees’ work must clearly illustrate the development and use of creative teaching methods that engage students in history and help them make exciting discoveries about the past.” A committee of teachers and historians selects one middle school teacher and one high school teacher for the $10,000 Behring Award, who will be announced at the National History Day Awards Ceremony. All nominees receive $500 each.
“I’m extremely honored to even be considered and I sincerely appreciate the recognition,” Kresslein says, on receiving the award. “I feel it’s a real celebration of my students and all the hard work that they put in. This year, I was excited when I went into classes about how many students were really interested in exploring topics a little further and working together. And they were excited all year long and worked really well. So I feel like it’s a celebration of all their hard work. And I’m very proud of them.”
Stavely says: “I was definitely kind of shocked when I first got that email. So I’m pretty grateful for being named Teacher of the Year.”
“This award recognizes the very best educators from across the nation and beyond,” says National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “These educators are leaders and innovators in the teaching of history. They engage their students with hands-on, inquiry-based learning with primary sources. I congratulate them on their well-deserved nominations.”
Support for Maryland History Day is provided by the State of Maryland through the Maryland State Department of Education, Thalheimer-Eurich Charitable Fund, Columbia Gas of Maryland/NiSource Foundation, Wegmans, and The Citizens of Baltimore County. Maryland History Day activities in 2022 are also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ initiative, A More Perfect Union.