Elizabeth Burken and Taylor Vaughn are getting ready for the next round of History Day.
These two Carthage High School sophomores qualified at regionals, then state and are now gearing up for nationals in June. History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research for 6th to 12th grade students. This year makes the 15th consecutive year Carthage has been represented at the national level in History Day.
“That does not happen very often,” said Kathleen Swift, CHS gifted education and language arts teacher. “We are very proud of the continuum.”
Every year, History Day has a theme for the students' projects; this year's is Revolutionary Reaction & Reform. Burken and Vaughn's website's focus is Child Labor during the Industry Revolution. They have invested nine months of thorough research into what Swift calls, “a beautiful website.” With every competition, the girls tweaked their project according to judges' standards. Burken said the journey to the result has meant the most to her.
“What I take from History Day is the research processes you go through and putting it into a finished product,” she said. “Everything has to be perfect for these judges.”
This will be the girls' first time at the national level, but it was their third experience at state in their four years in History Day. In June, the two will travel to Washington D.C., to present their website to judges at the University of Maryland for the four-day competition.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the girls' trip to nationals may do so through the Carthage R-9 Foundation by submitting donations to the History Day trip.
National History Day was awarded the prestigious 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on Monday, Feb. 13. The National Humanities medals honor achievements in history, literature, education and cultural policy. For the first time ever, a K-12 education program received the National Humanities Medal. The citation for National History Day was for being “a program that inspires in American students a passion for history. Each year more than half a million children from across the country compete in this event, conducting research and producing websites, papers, performances, and documentaries to tell the human story.”