Students from Fourteen 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 first in-person Maryland History Day State Contest in three years. The competition, held on April 30 at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is the culmination of a year-long program from Maryland Humanities. Last year, nearly 20,000 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 “Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.” 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 thirteen 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, virtual this year, runs June 12–18. Special Prize recipients and students who received first and second place were honored at a Virtual Awards Ceremony on May 1.
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.
Michael Yuscavage and Devin Page, who teach at Arundel High School and at Northern Middle School in Calvert County, were honored as the Maryland History Day Statewide High School and Middle School Teacher of the Year, respectively. Maryland Humanities has also nominated Page and Yuscavage for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award, facilitated by National History Day. As nominees, they will receive $500 each.
A committee of teachers and historians selects one middle school teacher and one high school teacher for the $10,000 Behring Award. Additionally, Maryland Humanities selected a District Teacher of the Year for each county with participating schools, listed here.
Both Page and Yuscavage have been involved with Maryland History Day for nineteen years and have students who received Special Prizes at the Maryland History Day State Contest.
It’s a tremendous honor,” Page says, on receiving the award. “Knowing how many teachers there are in the state of Maryland and how many phenomenal teachers at Calvert County Public Schools that I respect and highly admire…knowing the arc that Maryland History Day has taken over my own career, I am truly humbled.”
Yuscavage says: “For any teacher, it’s really humbling to think that someone out there is recognizing our work,” he says. “I’m really appreciative that I was selected.”
Dr. Cathy Gorn, Executive Director of National History Day, says: “This award recognizes the very best educators from across the nation and beyond. These educators are leaders and innovators in the teaching of history, and we are all the more impressed because of the extended difficult teaching circumstances due to the pandemic during the last year,” she continues. “I wish to congratulate both Mr. Page and Mr. Yuscavage 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, Venable Foundation, Wegmans, and The Citizens of Baltimore County. Maryland History Day activities in 2021–22 are also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ initiative, A More Perfect Union.