Bringing history to life at National Capital History Day

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Alisha Seguin, M. A. Candidate, Carleton University

On May 1, 2015, Carleton University will host National Capital History Day. Here, 350 aspiring young historians will bring enthusiasm, fresh perspectives, and healthy competition to Carleton University as they showcase vibrant projects on this year’s theme: “Leadership & Legacy in History”. Inaugurated last year, this competition has been adapted from American National History Day, which began in 1974.  It will stimulate young Ottawa students to connect with the historical past, consider why it is relevant to the present, and how such messages might be imaginatively presented to the public.

Ottawa secondary school students have been challenged to develop their research and analysis skills as they complete their submissions for this year’s contest. Competitors must perform rigorous background research and incorporate both primary and secondary sources in their projects. They must also craft thesis statements that clearly demonstrate why their topics speak to the act of leading and the legacy passed on by the actions of leaders.

The competition promises fun in exchange for hard work. Students have been given the opportunity to bring history to life in one of four ways: performance, documentary, website, and essay. In this way, young historians are encouraged to achieve academic excellence while thinking creatively about how to communicate their research to others. Submissions will be judged by panels that include historians, journalists, and educators. A special emphasis will be placed on not only assessing each entry, but providing quality feedback to students.

Student participants should arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 am so they may be in time for registration, the opening ceremonies, student workshops, and the judging of their NCHD submissions. National Capital History Day will be a closed event until 12:00 pm. Members of the general public will be welcome to attend the Keynote Address, however, which starts at 12:15 pm, and also the Closing Ceremonies from 1:00 to 2:00 pm in Carleton University’s River Building. Representatives from Canada’s History, Legion Magazine, Carleton University Department of History, Vimy Foundation, Worker’s History Museum, and other notable organizations will also be attending.

Credit: Photo by Jana Chytilova, National Capital History Day