Students from 17 Maryland Coutnies and Baltimore City Win Awards at Maryland History Day

May 10, 2024

(Baltimore, MD) – On May 4, over 500 middle and high school students showcased their original documentary film, exhibit, performance, research paper, or website—representing a year’s worth of historical research—in hope of receiving an award. They competed in the Maryland History Day State Contest, held at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

The contest is the culmination of a year-long program from Maryland Humanities. Last year, more than 27,000 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 a project exploring a historical topic of their choice on an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Turning Points in History.”  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 nine 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 9–13 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. 

See the list of 2024 Maryland History Day winners.

Maryland History Day at Maryland Humanities is an affiliate of National History Day. Support for Maryland History Day is provided by the State of Maryland through the Maryland State Department of Education, The Citizens of Baltimore County, and Thalheimer-Eurich Charitable Fund. 

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Maryland Humanities is also pleased to name Erin Spahr and Stephanie Gomer as the Maryland History Day Middle and High School Teachers of the year, respectively. Spahr serves as a Social Studies Teacher at Urbana Middle School in Frederick. Gomer teaches English at Poolesville High School’s humanities magnet program. Both teachers were honored at the Maryland History Day Awards Ceremony.

Maryland Humanities’ Maryland History Day team has also nominated Spahr and Gomer 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.

“It’s really quite an honor,” says Spahr. “I just love how it [Maryland History Day] brings kids into history in such a unique way and I just feel so honored that somebody thought enough of my involvement and my impact on students and kids in history and my passion about history and their projects to nominate me.”
 
Gomer says: “I was completely floored…I didn’t even know that they even had like a level for teachers to be honest…I really enjoy having [History Day]  as part of our humanities program,” she adds. “I think it’s a vital part. I think that it helps the kids develop into critical thinkers and they come very strong, but like I said, I think this stretches them in a way that they’re not normally stretched and gives them ownership.”

Get to know Spahr and Gomer by reading our blog feature article.

Press Release