Three Spring Hill High School students, four Summit High School students and three Spring Station Middle School students are set to compete in a national history competition later this year after placing first in a statewide History Day competition.
The competition is part of National History Day, a nonprofit organization that offers year-long academic programs that encourage middle and high school students from across the country to conduct original research on historical topics. More than half a million students compete on an annual basis from both public and private schools.
Each year the competition sees a different theme, with this year's theme being "Communication in History: The Key to Understanding." This year's award ceremony was held virtually; the second such time, with event organizers voicing their hope that this would be the final virtual ceremony.
"What a year this has been," said Cathy Gorn, executive director of National History Day. "A pandemic, crazy weather and moments that will go down in history, so I am especially pleased to congratulate you on your research and the hard work that you invested in your projects related to this year's theme: communication and history, the key to understanding."
The Tennessee Historical Society, which manages the National History Day competition on a statewide level, helped organize the statewide contest.
The three students from Spring Hill High School who received first place for their respective submissions were Harlie Grenead, Catherine Whelchel and Helayna Garlett.
Grenead and Whelchel together were awarded first place in the state - along with a gold medal - for their group documentary titled "Tales of Knitting, Dolls, and Watche; Covert Communication of Secrets through Steganography in World War II."
Garlett was awarded first place in the state - also along with a gold medal - for her individual performance titled "A Cloud Descended, Covering the Earth and Sea; Pompeii: Communicating History Through Preservation."
The four Summit High School students who were awarded first place were Eli Martin, Sophia Hall, and Alicia and Jaqueline Dinwiddie.
Martin won first place for his senior individual exhibit titled "Sing of the Times." Hall won first place for her individual paper titled "The Life and Journalism of Margaret Fuller: How Intellectual Rebellion Led to a Lasting Legacy."
Alicia and Jaqueline Dinwiddie won first place for their senior group exhibit titled "Man to Martyr: How Ruben Salazar Communicated a Movement."
The three Spring Station Middle School students who were awarded first place for their projects were Aidan, Austin and Madeleine Russ.
The three students collectively were awarded first place for their junior group website titled "The Living Room War: How Communication Through Multimedia Changed Public Perception of the Vietnam War."
All students will go on to compete this June in the national History Day contest.
This story was updated on 4/13/21 to include all students in Spring Hill who placed first in the National History Day Contest.