Why Judge History Day?
Want to share your love of history? Encourage young people’s creativity? Honor students’ hard work developing historical research projects? Volunteer as a judge for National History Day Arkansas!
Each year, hundreds of Arkansas high school and middle school students descend on the University of Central Arkansas campus for the state finals of National History Day. These young scholars have spent weeks or months designing, researching, and producing a project related to a broad historical theme. This year’s theme is “Frontiers in History: People, Places, and Ideas.” Some of these students will get the opportunity to participate in the National History Day competition in Washington, DC, this summer.
For students, participating in a History Day contest can be a transformative experience that encourages a life-long love of learning. The “magic” of the contest experience comes from students’ positive interactions with judges. Contestants are interacting with adults who listen carefully to their ideas, who share their appreciation of history, and above all, who offer encouragement and recognition for what the student has accomplished, regardless of contest ranking.
For judges, volunteering with History Day offers an opportunity to learn new things, to encourage our young historians, and to be inspired by students’ hard work and creativity. After spending their morning with passionate, thoughtful young people, they leave History Day feeling energized, informed, and optimistic about our future. For teachers who judge, volunteering with History Day and participating in our judge training can also offer a way to earn up to six (6) Professional Development hours.
Haven’t judged a National History Day contest before?
No problem! We provide training materials and contest rules. You will serve on a team with an experienced judge who will help you through the process. This video provides a good overview of what judges do at a National History Day contest. Not just teachers serve as judges. In the past, librarians, archivists, web designers, journalists, and museum professionals have done exceptional jobs. What does someone need to judge for National History Day? An understanding of the basics of historical research, appreciation for historical thinking, the ability to give constructive feedback, and above all, an interest in encouraging young people as they make history relevant to their lives.
When and where is the National History Day Arkansas contest?
The 2023 state contest will be held on Saturday, April 22 on the University of Central Arkansas campus. Judges typically meet for breakfast starting at 8:00 a.m. with a final orientation beginning at 8:30 a.m. Judging begins at 9:00 a.m. Most judging groups will finish reviewing projects before noon and can complete their written feedback shortly after lunch. A few groups have final rounds that may last until 1:30 p.m. We will provide lunch for all judges.