So here we are! The big show! It’s a brilliant parade of different color t-shirts, flags, signs, blow-up cactus, and smiling faces. It’s the National History Day Award Ceremony.
Every year the competition ends with one big ceremony in which finalist from every state dawn their state’s t-shirts (ours was white with blue lettering this year). It was an early morning (starting at 8:30 to be exact), with all the finalists marching around the field house to loud marching music being pumped out of the speakers. You could see representatives from every state in this parade. Some states like Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Guam only have a few representatives marching but other states like Texas, Minnesota, and Washington bring dozens of students to the competition. With that said though, when all the States got together (but not quite merge) it was just one big crowd excited and yelling on be hath of history. What a sight!
After Kathy, the director of the National History Day program, came to the podium and got all the students back to their seats, the ceremony began. It began with different people that are important to the program being introduced and some of which, gave speeches. Of course, all the students are sitting on the edge of their seats this whole time. They, of course, wanted the medal ceremony to begin.
After, all the introductions were done and speeches were given, Kathy began to announce the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place Junior and Senior winners in each category. Occasionally, Kathy switched to announce special prize for different subjects. Along with the medals and special prizes each state also received an outstanding finalist in the Junior and Senior categories. This year Delaware’s Junior outstanding finalist was Ben and Delaware’s Senior outstanding finalist was Camille. All the representatives from Delaware (students, parents, and siblings) gave both Ben and Camille a huge round of applause (once they were allowed). Congratulation Ben and Camille! Now back to the medals and special prizes!
Unfortunately, Delaware’s finalist did not get called up for any 3rd, 2nd, or 1st place medals but I am proud to announce that Sarah received a NHD special prize in the category of World War II history. Sarah did a Senior exhibit on the Women’s Corps during World War II. Once again, the Delaware representative were on their feet applauding as Sarah and her mom ran down to the field to receive her medal and special prize information.
Sarah’s was one of the last awards given that day and by 11:30 all the winners had been announced. Students and their parents, teachers, and coordinators began to file out of the field house to pack their things and begin their long (or short) journeys home.
Although Delaware did not go home with any medals in the categories there was a great sense of pride and accomplishment that resonated through all the contestants. They all knew that they had worked hard and did their best in their school, state, and national competitions. Even if they did not win a medal they knew they were competing against the best in the country. Not placing in a competition that includes over 4,000 of the country’s best could never be seen as a failure, but rather it speaks to the students accomplishments. To make it this far, with this amount of pride is something to be honored and respected.
I’m proud of all the student finalists that represented Delaware. They turned in excellent exhibits, documentaries and papers, they performed with great knowledge and passion, and they showed the world how technologically savvy they could be. Every day these students teach us that history is not just residing in the past and strictly for the aging, but rather it is for today and tomorrow and definitely for the young and the young at heart.
For now, Ellen and I will reflect on the contest, at the school, state and national levels and talk about things that could be improved and what we are already so proud to present. In a couple of months, the new school year will begin again and with it a whole new set of students that will research, write, cut, glue, code, and practice their entries for the nationals and we, the coordinators, the teachers, and the parents will be proud of them and behind them 100%. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings!