WASHINGTON, D.C—Around the world middle and high school students are taking their learning beyond the textbook with the annual National History Day Contest. This project-based contest provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their historical research skills through one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance and website. Guided by an annual theme, students are encouraged to choose a topic that matches their personal interests. The Battle of Homestead has always been an attractive subject for students, mainly because of all the resources that are available on the labor struggle.
Students entered their projects in local level contests, with the top entries advancing to regional, state/affiliate, and national levels. The Regional competition for Pittsburgh is held at the Heinz History Center in March. Placing high in the regional get you an invite to the statewide competition, held at Carlisle in May. The best entries from around the world are then invited to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in June at the University of Maryland at College Park.
The 2018 theme was Conflict and Compromise in History. A group exhibit in the Junior category became one of the most rewarded entries using the Battle of Homestead as the topic. Students Amelia, Robyn, and Sophia, eighth-graders at Peters Township Middle School, tackled the theme and concluded there was no compromise with management and labor, and that caught the judges attention.
Their entry, “Frick’s Inability to Compromise: The Homestead Strike of 1892,” finished Second at Heinz History Center and they were motivated to do more research and improve their project for the state competition. Their hard work paid of with a First Place award at Carlisle and a trip to the National Contest. Again, allowed to improve their presentation, they contacted BHF for more insight into the Battle and the aftermath. Armed with new information, improved visuals, and primary sources of information, they were able to capture Third Place over entries from all 50 states and many foreign countries.
Here’s a link to a local news article highlighting their achievements: Peters Township students finish third nationally in history competition.
The 2017 theme was Taking A Stand in History. Students entered their projects in local level contests, with the top entries advancing to regional, state/affiliate, and national levels. The Regional competition for Pittsburgh was held at the Heinz History Center on March 4th & 5th. Placing high in the regional get you an invite to the statewide competition. The best entries from around the world are then invited to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in June 2017 at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Two presentations on the Battle of Homestead took home honors this year. Julia, a 6th grade student at Deer Lakes Middle School, placed 3rd in the Junior division with her presentation board titled “John McLuckie’s Stand in the Homestead Strike of 1892”. Julia had done meticulous research on the subject, and she visited the Pump House to learn more about the battle and to experience where it all happened, 125 years ago.
In the Senior division, 10th grade students Celaine, Megan and Summer, from Riverview High School, placed second with their documentary, “No More “Steel”ing Our Rights: The Homestead Strike of 1892”. They visited the Pump House and part of their documentary was filmed onsite.
These students will all move on to the state competition, held at Carlisle Area High School, Carlisle, Pa. on Friday, May 12, 2017 and Saturday, May 13, 2017.