(Posted March 20, 2001)

Pennsylvania's annual History Day district competition is slated for Wednesday, April 4 at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. Students from 13 middle and high schools are expected to participate in the event, which will focus on the theme "Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas."

Participating schools are: Forbes Road High School; Huntingdon Area High School; Huntingdon Area Middle School; Indian Valley High School; Indian Valley Middle School; Lewistown Area High School; Lewistown Middle School; Mount Nittany Middle School; Selinsgrove Area High School; State College Area High School; Strodes Mills Middle School; Tyrone Area High School; and Tyrone Area Middle School.

The event, which usually brings in more than 300 students, teachers, student observers and parents, will be the 16th year that Juniata College has hosted the History Day competition at the district level. The district encompasses Blair, Centre, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Snyder counties.

The Juniata College history department has organized the History Day competition since 1986, following a request by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission.

"This event gets students to become historians, rather than being passive consumers watching a program on the History Channel," says David Hsiung, W. Newton and Hazel Long associate professor of history and chair of the Juniata history department. "Figuring out which questions to ask, and then finding the answers to those questions, is what makes history fun."

History Day registration is from 8 to 8:45 a.m. in the Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center. After the day's activities have ended, awards will be presented at 2 p.m. in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Science Center. Juniata provost James Lakso will present the awards.

Students can compete in any of seven categories: Historical paper (1,500-2,000 words, individuals only); individual project (displays containing maps, charts, models and more); group projects; individual performance (such as short plays or interpretive readings); group performance; individual media presentation; and group media presentation. This year, the top senior performance project will be performed at the awards ceremony.

Entries are judged in two divisions. The junior division includes students in grades 6-8. The senior division includes students in grades 9-12. Judges for the competition will be Juniata College students studying in history, politics, secondary education, social studies, business, psychology and other programs.

During the competition, visiting students, faculty and guests can tour the Juniata campus, drop in on classes and eat lunch courtesy of the history department.

The History Day finals -- open for students finishing first or second at the regional level -- will be held in May in State College. The national finals are held at the University of Maryland in College Park.

History Day was first organized in 1974, by David Van Tassel and members of the history department at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. History Day encourages students to research and prepare papers, projects, performances and media presentations, and to have their work judged by historians, educators and others.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.