Students compete at Ohio History Day District Competition


PIQUA — Qualifying students from the Upper Miami Valley spent Saturday morning at Piqua Junior High School for Ohio History Day District Competition. Sponsored by Ohio History Connection, Ohio History Day is an affiliate of National History Day.

The inter-disciplinary, project-based program’s 2023 theme is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. The local competition is coordinated by the staff of the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency.

This year’s district competition included students from St. Marys City Schools, Brookville Local Schools and the Dayton Islamic School. District 7 includes schools in Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby Counties.

In most instances, students spent months on project research, analyzing and synthesizing information, completing written papers, creating imaginative exhibits or websites, and preparing for judging. In some cases, the projects developed are part of a class project. In other cases, they are created for individual enrichment.

Projects this year included topics as diverse as the Bubonic Plague, the 16th Century rivalry between Spain and England, the 1st Century Celtic Revolt against the Romans, and the Reformation. Historic characters explored included Neil Armstrong, Melba Pattillo Beals, Boudicca, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci, Christine de Pizan, and William Tyndale.

Projects were judged on established criteria that included historical accuracy, multiple perspectives, historical accuracy, theme, historical argument, primary sources, historical context, Judges included area current and former educators.

“The projects this year were as good as I’ve ever seen at the district level,” former Lehman Catholic teacher and administrator Mike Barhorst said. “Of the projects that I and Piqua City Schools Curriculum Coordinator Teresa Anderson judged, I can say that it was difficult to choose the top three to advance to state competition. The students had worked hard, and it was obvious that they had done so.”

“It’s amazing to see the work the participants put into their projects,” Johnston Farm & Indian Agency Site Manager Andy Hite stated following the competition. “Their creativity is amazing.”

The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency has been the local sponsor of the competition for the past two decades. Hite, who will retire later this year, has coordinated the local event all that time.

“Ohio History Day is an amazing opportunity for all students to share their passion for history, develop research skills, and learn,” Ohio History Connection School and Teacher Support Coordinator Carla Mello said. Mello was the Ohio History Connection on-site coordinator for the district competition this year.

Students advancing to state competition from Piqua District in Group Exhibit competition include Lucy Ray and Natalie Downey and their project “Melba Pattillo Beals;” Claire Harsh and Cayleigh Tipton and their project “A Royal Rivalry;” David Gayman and Tim Moler and their project “William Tyndale: Pushing Religious Frontiers”

Advancing in the Individual Exhibit competition are Libby Nutter and her project titled “Christine de Pizan: Feminist Frontiers in Writing;” Nora Dunkle and her project titled “Pushing the Fontiers of the Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci;” and Mustafa Vikil and his project “The Eagle Scout has landed: Armstrong’s Leadership to the New Frontier.”

Advancing to state competition in the Group Website category are Kaylee Haupt and Ella Renner and their project titled “17-Year-Old Fighting to Break Frontiers.”

Advancing in competition in the Individual Documentary category are Colton Dorsey and his project titled “Black Death; An Expanding Frontier; and Elliott Peters and his project titled “Joan of Arc: Medieval Trailblazers.”

Ohio’s State History Day will be held this year on April 22. Students in grades six-12 who are either first or second-place entries at Ohio History Day State Competition are eligible to participate in the National History Day. That contest will be held in June at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

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