More than 3,000 motivated sixth- through twelfth-grade students compete in National History Day in Missouri each year. On April 26 roughly 600 students advanced from regional competitions to the state competition on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus to showcase their exemplary work.
The young scholars conduct extensive research on historical subjects and present their findings through documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, or websites. The high-level work helps them to develop skills that prepare them for successful lives. Many students advance from the state contest to the national competition.
Ninth-grader Hannah Scott from Odessa advanced to nationals in 2013, finishing in seventh place for her junior individual exhibit, Penicillin: Wonder Drug of the Battlefront, Turning Point for Modern Medicine. Scott spent the 2013-14 school year working on her project, Women of Steel: The Rights and Responsibilities of America’s Arsenal for Production, to top her award-winning entry. While her subject changed, her process didn’t.
“I’ve been working really hard to make it to nationals again this year,” Scott said. “I had such a great time last year, and it was amazing to have my exhibit displayed at the National Museum of American History in DC. I just really hope my project is good enough for me to go again.”
At the 2014 state contest, Scott earned the right to advance to nationals by placing second in her category. The special prize judges also rewarded Scott’s efforts. She received a Missouri History Prize, sponsored by the Missouri State Museum, the Native Sons & Daughters of Greater Kansas City Prize, and the first ever Show Me Prize, established and presented by the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Bicentennial Committee.
“Hannah’s project is great and exactly what I had in mind when we created the Show Me Prize,” committee chair Brent Schondelmeyer said. “The award is meant to celebrate the unique contributions of our state to national and international history. Missourians impact the world in more ways than we realize.”
Scott found both local and national sources to support her project on women’s contributions in WWII. “I really enjoyed learning about the many ways women supported the war effort in the Heartland, as opposed to on the East and West coasts,” Scott said.
“The impact on students is tremendous and well worth the investment from the Society and from teachers and parents,” SHSMO Executive Director Gary Kremer said. “Students build confidence, develop their critical thinking, and learn important communication skills. National History Day in Missouri prepares them for college and beyond.”